Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Creamy Mac & Cheese

New York Times recipe with 5 stars and over 781 reviews... well, that got my attention.

But, I had to read the recipe a couple of times...
Wait a sec- - you throw uncooked noodles into the mix and bake it?
Well, that's crazy!
Crazy smart and talks straight to the lazy woman within me.

This... my friends... brings cooking dinner to a whole 'nother easy level.
We loved this and I will definately use this technique again to make a super easy Mac & Cheese.

Here's a link to the original recipe.

Serves 4-6

2 Tbsp butter
1 cup cottage cheese 
2 cups half & half or whole milk 
1 tsp dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 pound elbow pasta (or other tubular small pasta), uncooked.

Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. 
Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.
In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. 
Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.
Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned.  Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Here it is before I covered with foil and threw it in the oven.  See that I have retained about 1/4 -1/2 cup of cheese to add on in 30 minutes when I uncover it.

After the second 30 minutes in the oven uncovered, I wasn't sure the noodles were really cooked.  So I turned off the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes in the hot oven....  interestingly enough, it was that additional 15 minutes that made some of the top noodles kind of hard from over baking. 

Here's what I've been making:

One year ago: Arizona Botanical Gardens
Two years ago: Strawberry Spinach Avocado Salad

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