Tag Archives: pasta

Emma’s Mac-A-Roo, the ultimate macaroni and cheese

emma

That’s my silly sister, on a day long before end-of-the-year work consumed her life. 

Emma put in 14-hour days all week just so she could be home for my last weekend.

Busy season for accountants on the audit side is January and February, and 12-hour days aren’t uncommon, as she’s learning in her first year as a newbie at one of the Big Four. Saturdays are required too, unless, apparently, you present extenuating circumstances like your oldest (and favorite) sister is moving across the country. So she clocked in at 7:30 a.m. all week, getting home at 10–or later–at night. And, she still had to spend a few hours with a calculator and laptop and scary spreadsheets while our pups played. (And mind you, she wasn’t as happy as she was in the above snapshot, taken before a UVA game this fall. Far from it.)

But, Emma: I’m so glad you were here. It may be awhile before we can again cuddle, lunch with a great friend, or shop for running sneakers together. Or, eat mom’s macaroni and cheese.

macaroo

Perhaps most memorable this weekend, we dined on some favorites: Mac-A-Roo and later, grandpa’s fluffy and delicate pancakes. Watching “The Wizard of Oz”–she’s obviously seen this classic too many times and knows every single line–while cozied up in grandpa’s living room wrapped up a low-key evening. (Along with this dark chocolate caramel panna cotta.)

For some reason, Emma and I refused to like homemade macaroni and cheese when we were kids. Was it too saucy, too different than what’s from the blue box, too flavorful? But then, our family went to Outback. And life changed. Emma ordered the kid’s Mac-A-Roo, a simple bowl of noodles tossed with a rich, creamy cheese sauce. My mom, astonished, said, “I could make that at home!” With the macaroni and cheese recipe from Betty Crocker, homemade Mac-A-Roo quickly became a favorite for our family.

macaroo2

It’s simple and hearty–start with a roux of butter and flour, whisk in milk (for a bechamel sauce), and then melt in cheese. My mom tends to use a mix of American (no longer available in a blue box though, she lamented, just sliced) and grated cheddar. Spoon it over pasta for a saucier dish, creamy cheese clinging to the tiny ridges on the penne, or bake and allow the noodles to soak up the extra sauce and the whole dish will get crusty on top. Emma prefers it unbaked, but my favorite is baked; this weekend, she won. A side of peas always complements Mac-A-Roo, though I don’t know why. That’s just what we’ve always done. The peas are a tad sweet, green (and thus healthy), and blend in well to a bowl of ultimate richness.

Like Dorothy says, there’s no place like home.

uvauncgame

Mac-A-Roo (aka Macaroni and Cheese)
From Betty Crocker

2 cups / 7 oz. uncooked pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups milk
2 cups / 8 oz. cheese (equal parts American and shredded cheddar)

If baking the finished dish, heat oven to 350ºF.

Cook macaroni as directed on package.

While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.

Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constanly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.

Drain macaroni.

Choose how you’re going to serve: Either spoon the sauce onto bowls of pasta, or, mix the sauce and all cooked pasta together and pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Angel hair with burst cherry tomatoes

pastatomatoes

Dinner this week should be something warm and comforting, like soup, macaroni and cheese or chili, to keep us going through this lingering, wet cold front. We need the rain, certainly, but four days in the forecast seems too much. Of course, the pup doesn’t mind one bit, and we must still trudge through the neighborhood morning and night, with waterlogged shoes and hair that looks like it just came from the shower.

If you’re looking for a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal, this isn’t it. Because this pasta is instead light and healthy, and yet it’s still satisfying, invoking feelings of summer contentment and sunshiney happiness, even in the five minutes you may have to down a bowl before heading off to a meeting. A thin but flavorful sauce coats the angel hair, and is full of garlic-tomato-herb-cheesey goodness. For my produce-loaded countertop’s sake, this pasta makes good use of some of the cherry tomatoes I picked up last week, and best of all, it comes together in just about 15 minutes. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Inspirations from Pinterest: pasta and caramel

When you’re trying to be productive, the new social media site Pinterest is a terrible invention. You can get lost in the wonderfully cute ideas for crafts and fashion, weddings and travel, and my downfall, lots and lots of beautiful food. (Here’s my page!)

But, there are some wonderful ideas to be found on Pinterest. Tonight, I made two of the recipes that I had pinned to my boards: Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes from the Pioneer Woman, and Caramel Shortbread from Two Tarts. Both blogs are wonderful, so I was excited to try these treats.

Mmm creamy tomatoes and artichokes mixed with pasta and herbs.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,
Advertisements