About This Blog

This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.

Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...

Thank you and enjoy!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Romanesco

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup bread crumbs made from day old bread
1/2 pound ziti, cooked and drained
---or elbow macaroni, penne, etc
14 ounces Romanesco, cut into bite size florets,
---steamed until crisp tender
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/3 cups milk
12 ounces sharp white cheddar
fresh ground pepper and nutmeg to taste
1 ounce (or more) truffle butter, totally optional
---(that foodie embellishment)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8-cup baking dish, such as an oval gratin dish, with 1/2 tablespoon of butter and coat with about 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs. Melt the other tablespoon of butter and toss the remaining breadcrumbs with it.

Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring often (I switch to a silicon spatula at this point), until it thickens and just begins to boil, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Season with fresh ground pepper and a touch of nutmeg. Taste for salt, I added none. Stir in the truffle butter if using it.

Put the cooked pasta and Romanesco into a large mixing bowl. Pour the cheese sauce over all and stir to mix. Put into the prepared baking dish, packing it in a bit, and sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over the top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until browned and bubbly. Start checking after 25 minutes (my oven is incredibly unreliable and should never be used for recipe testing!).

Makes 3 to 4 servings, depending on your appetite!

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