If it weren’t for comfort foods, I probably would never have to exercise again! Okay, not really. But why is it that the foods Americans so often refer to as “comfort foods” always include pasta, bread, cheese and/or gravy!??! Not the healthiest choices by far, but I am definitely an “everything in moderation” kind of girl! This recipe is one of my very favorites. I mean, how can something with cheese, caramelized onions, bacon and wine be wrong??
This recipe uses one of my favorite cheeses, Gruyere. Gruyere is a hard, yellow cheese. It is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming more earthy as it ages. It is a great melting cheese and is often used in fondues, quiches, and on French onion soup.
It also calls for an ingredient that surprises some people, nutmeg. I use nutmeg in many savory dishes including my chili for an added depth to the flavor that will have people asking what they are tasting. Nutmeg is the hard, brown seed from the nutmeg tree which is a tropical evergreen tree. Most cooks prefer to grate it fresh from the seed. The seed should be stored in an airtight container, away from heat, moisture and sunlight. Though there is some disagreement about storing dry spices in the freezer because they may lose potency, I do store my nutmeg seeds and my ginger root in the freezer. I pull them out and grate them fresh whenever I need them. I store them for many months, and have not noticed either losing any flavor or aroma.
Grown-up Mac and Cheese
1lb pasta – I prefer a short cut textured pasta such as: spiral, gemelli, cellentani, penne rigate that can grab onto the cheese
Pour the cheese sauce into the pasta and toss together. Serve with a leafy green salad and crusty bread…and a glass of the wine you opened, of course!
- 1lb pasta - I prefer a short cut textured pasta such as: spiral, gemelli, cellentani, penne rigate that can grab onto the cheese
- 1T Olive Oil - I use my favorite Picholine from a local shop The Olive Twist (www.theolivetwist.com)
- ½lb Bacon, chopped
- 2 Medium Onions, thinly sliced
- ½C Wine (a dry white is great, but use whatever favorite white or blush you have on hand to drink)
- 2T Butter
- 2T Flour
- 1C Milk
- 1C Chicken Broth
- 2C Gruyere, shredded (regular Swiss would work fine, I just like the nuttiness of Gruyere and how well it melts)
- ½t nutmeg, fresh grated
- 2-3 drops Hot Sauce
- 1T Spicy brown or Dijon Mustard
- Salt & Pepper
- Cook pasta as directed on package to al dente.
- While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a pan.
- Crisp the bacon in the olive oil.
- Remove the bacon, reserving the oil and bacon grease in the pan.
- Add the onions and cook over medium heat until softened and just beginning to caramelize.
- Add the wine and reduce 1-2 minutes.
- As the onions cook, in a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a roux.
- After a minute or two, whisk in the broth and milk.
- Allow to thicken several minutes then add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
- Add a few drops of the hot sauce.
- Whisk in the mustard.
- Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese, a little at a time to melt into the sauce.
- Pour the cheese sauce into the pasta and toss together.
I just want to say a ginormous Thank You! to everyone who takes the time to peruse my blog. Whether you land here on accident or by choice, I hope you find something of interest and are inspired to try something new by adding herbs and spices to your cooking.
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|Grown-up Mac N Cheese…Mmmm!|
I have bunches of recipes ready to write about. I just have to make the time to get them posted. Coming soon are my quick and simple marinara sauce, a tasty grown-up version of mac n cheese, a savory oatmeal, and mashed potato and cauliflower potato cakes. I’ve made myself hungry typing this…
Thanks again! I’m looking forward to reading your comments!!
I live in a rural part of northeast Indiana. The nearest Thai restaurant is about 45 minutes away, so when I had a Thai craving it went unsatisfied…until recently. After much searching and adapting, I have put together a Thai inspired feast that is spicy and simple.
I tied together the flavors of the dishes with the crushed red chili pepper and lime. The meal includes Chili Lime Roasted Cauliflower, Chili Lime Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers and Roasted Tofu with a Thai Peanut dipping sauce on Coconut Milk Rice, and Pad Thai noodles. I love the spiciness of Thai, and all of these recipes are plenty spicy. I do not recommend adjusting the heat at all until you’ve sampled first.
First, the base of the Pad Thai, Peanut Sauce and the marinade for the Chicken and Tofu is a spicy sesame oil made by combining 1 C of Sesame Oil and 2 T crushed red chili peppers in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Pour through a strainer to remove pepper flakes. Reserve oil for use in the following recipes. And, in case you skipped the last line of the previous paragraph, do not add extra pepper…this will be plenty hot!
Thai Peanut Sauce
Whisk together. Set aside as dipping sauce for chicken, tofu and cauliflower.
Chili Lime Roasted Cauliflower
Coconut Milk Rice
Chili Lime Chicken Satay Skewers
1/2C Spicy Sesame Oil
4T Brown Sugar
6T Soy Sauce
Splash of Siracha
Juice of 1 Lime
1 box Linguine, Angel Hair pasta or Rice Noodles
2T Olive Oil
1/2C Green Onion, chopped (separate greens from the whites)
1/2C Carrots, grated
1/2C Cilantro, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Egg (optional)
1/2C Peanuts, roughly chopped
Mix together the first five ingredients. Set aside. Prepare noodles as directed on package. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the white part of the onion, carrots and garlic. Scramble in egg if desired. Reduce heat. Toss in noodles and add sauce. Garnish with chopped peanuts, green onions and cilantro.
This is a lot of food! I actually made the Pad Thai and Chicken Satay skewers with Peanut Sauce for one meal, and then had the cauliflower, tofu and rice for another meal…my meatless meal for the week. Once you have the Sesame Oil and Siracha in your pantry, these actually end up being very economical too. Considerably less than ordering take-out, if you live closer than I do to a Thai restaurant!