Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Wicked Good Mac and Cheese
Happy Leap Day! Do I have any Mitford fans among my readers? (I know at least one is in my sweet friend Ginny.) I could get lost in Mitford any time, day or night. And have ... many times over. I'm a huge Jan Karon fan and have read every single "Father Tim" book available and some of her children's books, too.
So it comes as no surprise that I also have her Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader and flip through the pages often - if for no other reason than to relish a bite of Mitford in my mind for a quick pick-me-up to my mood.
If you are familiar with Mitford, then you also know what a very good cook Puny is. This macaroni and cheese is adapted from Puny's recipe found in the above-mentioned cookbook. I've altered it to fit the needs and tastes of my family. I named it "wicked good" because it's quite wicked with its richness and unbelievably good in its taste. It's not healthy by an stretch of the imagination, but I like to think it's better for you than the old baked mac and cheese version I used to make with Velveeta and other cheeses. Maybe.
The girls had been asking for macaroni and cheese for a while recently - it had been quite a spell since I'd last made any form of it - so I decided to make it for our Valentine's Day entree. Obviously I didn't take the time to make great photos out of this dish - but I wanted you to see the new casserole dish my sister gave me for Christmas. Isn't it sweet?
Projected time, start to finish, a little over an hour
1/3 cup unsalted butter, plus a little extra
1/3 cup brown rice flour
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
2 tsp. kosher salt
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 cups shredded Colby jack cheese
1 pound gluten-free elbow macaroni or shells, cooked al dente according to package (I used Tinkyada, and always use the energy-saving method. It works best)
2 slices fresh bread (I used Udi's multi-grain), broken into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3-quart baking dish and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package, drain and set aside when finished (you might want to lightly toss in a little olive oil). You'll want to keep the pasta a little al dente, so check it several minutes earlier than the package says to cook it for.
While pasta is cooking, combine 1/3 cup of butter and brown rice flour in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth, then slowly add milk. Continue to stir with whisk until mixture is smooth and thickened.
Add sour cream and cream cheese, whisking in until combined and smooth again.
Add salt, nutmeg, mustard, cayenne and black pepper. Whisk lightly until mixed well. Stir in shredded cheese. Season more to taste if necessary.
Add macaroni to cheese mixture and gently mix together. Pour into baking dish.
In a small bowl, melt a tablespoon or two of butter and toss with bread pieces. Sprinkle over top of macaroni.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until bubbling nicely.
On another note, today's photo of beauty is actually from last night. Yesterday's post mentioned how terrible the dust and wind were yesterday. That is true, but sometimes dusty days bring beautiful evenings with the sun. It covers the sun just enough to give the sky an incredible hue.
Go find beauty today!
Why I'm sharing this: http://mamameglutenfree.blogspot.com/2012/02/beauty-in-eye-of-beholder.html