Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Week 1: Mac and Cheese (with a side of Broccoli)

Started with this at 4:00.

Ended with this around 5:45.

I couldn't have done it without a little bit of help from one of tonight's dinner guests, though.

And, all of it got a thumbs up from the other dinner guest.

Tonight's dinner started with Post-It Notes. I marked all of the most promising recipes in Barefoot Contessa Family Style. From there, Brad picked one--mac and cheese. (I should say that mac and cheese wasn't Brad's first choice. His first choice required some kitchen gadgets I don't have and some research. I will make it another week, though.) I decided to add the broccoli to make the meal a little more well-rounded.

I've only made mac and cheese once (with lots of help from Josie and Katrina), so I was a little nervous about getting the cheese sauce smooth and tasty instead of lumpy and burnt. But, Ina's directions were easy to follow, and I was happy with the final product.

I do have to warn you, though. . . this was a dish-intensive meal. The mac and cheese alone required three pots and a baking dish. The pots all needed to be washed before the broccoli was made; it needed two pots.

"Mac and Cheese"
Taken from
in Barefoot Contessa Family Style
by Ina Garten

Vegetable Oil
1 pound cavatappi (corkscrew noodles)
1 quart (4 C) milk
8 Tbsp. (1 stick)unsalted butter, divided
1/2 C flour
12 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated (4 C)
8 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 C)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 lb. fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 C white bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Drizzle oil in a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to directions on the package. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 Tbsp. of butter in a large pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1/2 Tbsp. salt, pepper, and nutmet. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart (9 x 13) baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, combine with fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.

NOTE: The mac and cheese looks really soupy right before you put it in the oven - so soupy that you will wonder if you added too much milk. Don't worry, though. It's comes out of the oven 30 minutes later absolutely perfect.

ANOTHER NOTE: I didn't use all Gruyere. It was too expensive. I used 7 oz. Gruyere and 5 oz. Swiss.

Modified from "Broccoli and Bowties"
in Barefoot Contessa Family Style
by Ina Garten

Kosher Salt
8 C broccoli florets (4 heads)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 C pine nuts
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the broccoli for three minutes in a large pot of boiling salted water. Remove the broccoli from the water, place in a large bowl, and set aside.

In a small saute plan, heat the butter and oil and cook the garlic and lemon zest over medium-low heat for one-minute. Off the head, add 1 tsp. salt, the pepper, and lemon juice and pour this over the broccoli and pasta. Toss well. Sprinkle with pine nuts and cheese.

1 comment:

  1. mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm! I want to go home and make this right now.