The muumuu of mac and cheese

24 Jan


A lot of people here in the Northeast complain about winter. Not I. I love it. I love winter because of the very harshness about which everyone else kvetches. The cold, the snow, the shades of gray in daytime, the 12-plus hours of night. I love winter because it provides the perfect excuse to be reclusive. To retreat indoors and snuggle up with a cat and a book in front of the fire. To thaw out by cooking comfort foods over a hot stove. To doze on the sofa to old movies while the house fills with the aroma of a simmering stew. To eat, eat, eat, and keep the evidence of overindulgence hidden under heavy sweaters for months. Mmmm, winter.

Tonight’s bit of gluttony is macaroni and cheese. I have long sought the perfect mac and cheese recipe, and have done a fair amount of experimenting (happily) to get it “just right” over the years. Needless to say, I am still trying. But tonight’s attempt is not so bad. I cook while watching reruns of The Golden Girls, and laugh to myself as I hear a self-satisfied Sophia purr while sampling her own marinara: “If this sauce were a person, I’d get naked and make love to it.” Simultaneously, I am licking my saucepan of the leftover cheese sauce, and saying the same thing. Sophia in her muumuu, and I in my raspberry fleece bathrobe and apron. Across the airwaves, across the decades, we cook and court our food as one.

Like a downy duvet, or bath towels straight from the dryer, or slipping into PJs at 6 pm…Let this mac and cheese be your comfort. Your warming winter companion. Your muumuu.


Muumuu Mac & Cheese


  • 8 oz. thick cut bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 lb. rotini pasta, cooked and drained per package directions
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • Half bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. half-n-half
  • 2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 c. bleu cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, cayenne pepper, and ground pepper to taste
  • Seasoned bread crumbs to top

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil casserole dish. Cook bacon pieces until browned. Transfer to paper towel to drain. In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, pepper, and paprika until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and half-n-half, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, add cheeses, and stir until melted and smooth. Add pasta to cheese mixture, stirring until well coated. Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes, scallions, and bacon until fully coated. Season with salt and the peppers to taste. Transfer to prepared casserole dish, and top with seasoned bread crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.


6 Responses to “The muumuu of mac and cheese”

  1. Amy Robbins January 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    I too love the Mac n Cheese and have tried for years to perfect mine. Every time I make a batch it turns out a little different, depending on the cheese in the fridge, milk or half & half, etc., one thing I started adding a few years ago is a little white wine and it really makes it delicious. Not to mention you opened a bottle of wine, added a small portion to your dinner and this now needs to be consumed because you don’t want it to go bad. Hmmmm…Maybe that’s why my Mac & Cheese tastes so good.

    • ramblings&roasts January 25, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      Oooo, wine, yes! Will have to try that for sure! Just like cheese, wine makes EVERYTHING better 🙂

  2. Sarah January 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Oh no you did not just post pictures of what looks like the perfect Mac and Cheese. You know I’m gonna have to make this now, right? This looks SOOO good. Love the idea of the tomatoes. I thought i wasn’t hungry after dinner, buuuuuttttt….

    I agree with ya on winter, you’re so right. And how much do I love that you watch the Golden Girls while cooking? A LOT!

    • Sarah February 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

      Just wanted you to know, I am making this. Right. Now. 🙂 Finally! Can’t wait to eat!


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