Friday, October 29, 2010

a new spin on an old fave

the crisp air and fall feeling of my day has inspired me to change my post at the last minute. i had planned to touch on the wonders of baking soda...but i want to share one of my all time (and now my hubby's as well...) simple vegetarian recipes perfect for this time of year: kickin' mac & cheese! not only is it tasty, but it warms you all over and fills you up.

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni 
4 tablespoons butter (divided in half)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
6 teaspoons green Tabasco sauce (this is the magical ingredient; if you are unsure if you can handle the spice, use 2 teaspoons and garnish finished serving as desired)
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (not quite as critical as the sauce, but just as sassy)
1 3/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons chili powder

  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or as directed by package for al dente; drain.
  3. in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. whisk in flour and cook, stirring continuously for 1 minute. gradually whisk in milk, mustard, salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. bring to a gentle boil, again stirring constantly. boil for 1 minute - lower heat to lowest setting. whisk in pepper jack, cheddar, and Parmesan until smooth. stir in cooked pasta and pour into shallow 2 quart baking dish.
  4. melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. (you may wish to use 3 tablespoons butter depending on how saturated you want your crumbs to be.) stir in bread crumbs and chili powder. sprinkle over macaroni.
  5. bake for 38 minutes. let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.
i suggest serving with seasoned asparagus and a glass of white vino for a perfect fall treat! bon appetite!

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