Tag Archives: macaroni and cheese with tomatoes

The muumuu of mac and cheese

24 Jan

Rambling

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.

Roast

Muumuu Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 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.

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