So, you made it through the holidays, and enjoyed enough mashed potatoes and gravy to safely hibernate until the snow melts for good. Perhaps you’d like something a little lighter to begin the New Year?
Not today, friend. I made this Smoky Mac and Cheese weeks ago, and resolutions be damned, I just can’t keep it to myself any longer.
It’s perfectly creamy and rich, with a crunchy, golden top and just a hint of smokiness.
I served this with a simple romaine salad tossed in lemon vinaigrette, and it was the perfect, crunchy foil to the creamy, rich mac and cheese.
So don’t fret over a silly bowl of pasta. It’s difficult to eat when you’re hanging your head in shame. Safety first!
Recipe below the fold
Smoky Mac and Cheese
1/2 pound pasta shells
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons onion, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
4 ounces smoked mozzarella, grated
Salt to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 350⁰ and grease two ramekins. Heat the milk and cream together gently over low heat.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, until it’s soft but not brown. Stir in the minced garlic and continue cooking for one more minute.
Sprinkle in the flour and whisk for about 5 minutes, until the roux is an ivory or blond color. Slowly whisk in the warmed cream and milk, one ladle at a time. Add the basil and oregano, and simmer, whisking until it begins to thicken.
Gradually whisk in the grated cheeses, stirring after each addition to incorporate.
Taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning to your preference. Stir in the pasta, and pour it into the prepared ramekins.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until you can see bubbling around the sides and the top is golden brown.
Let stand for 5-10 minutes (to set) and serve.
Serves 3-4 as a main course.