This is it: my mac and cheese. The one I measure all others against. The one that NEVER loses. The one that gets me the most compliments ever time- no fail. You know how everyone talks down a bit about the old style mac and cheese. The one you have to make a roux for? Fortunately and unfortunately, this is that one.
I'm having a super sad day today. My grandma left this morning and I won't see her for another year. She's so wonderful, loving and kind. Every time I think of her sweet happy face I want to cry. Ralph is on holiday, so I get to wallow on the couch alone at home. I do wish I had his warm hugs around..
Ralph was away last week as well, so I thought I would use the opportunity to have a nice quiet evening with Lauren, my roommate. Yes, I have a home, with a roommate- the place where I don't spend any time between visiting family and Ralph's kitchen- I mean Ralph. I do have great news on that front- I've bought a house, with it's own tiny kitchen! I'll be moving in there at the end of the month- can't wait! I plan to take my cooking to a whole new level.
But back to the point- supper for Lauren! I went all out: proper mac & cheese, roast veggies and cherries dipped in white chocolate for dessert (will post next time!). I wanted to have a warm and wonderful evening with the sunniest, cheeriest, warmest person in my life. Lauren rounded the evening off with a nice bottle of Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc.
My Mac & Cheese
fried crispy bacon (optional)
2x 410g cans chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
120 g butter
about 3 cups flour
about 1 litre of milk
2 cups grated cheddar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
250g elbow macaroni
1) Put both cans of chopped tomatoes in a small pot and boil to reduce. When they're not so thin anymore, add origanum, salt and pepper to taste (and smell FANTASTIC). I tend to add chillies here, either dried, or my favourite Edrico's chillies.
2) At the same time, cook macaroni until al dente. I specify elbow because it find it a bit more whimsical than straight. Am I easy to amuse? Yes, and proud of it! Mix the macaroni with the tomato sauce, and bacon, if you made some.
3) Preheat oven to 180C. Now it's time for the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a smallish pot. Now, start adding the flour, table spoon by tablespoon, until the mixture looks like really dense mash. Stir it around for a bit and let it fry. Turn the heat down to low.
4) Start adding the milk, bit by bit, whilst whisking the mixture to make sure no clumps form. If they do, just keep whisking, but with more feeling! Keep adding milk until the mixture has the consistency of normal milk. Increase the heat to medium and stir as it thickens up. Be patient. It will thicken.
5) Just before it boils, take it off the heat. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir. Now add the cheese in handfuls and stir lots- keep aside a bit though. Add to the macaroni and stir.
6) Tip macaroni into a baking dish, sprinkle with cheese, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until it browns lightly on top.
7) Get ready- this is really, seriously, this-is-not-a-test delicious. Enjoy!
Now, I don't tend to go halfway with comfort dishes like this. I made a WHOLE lot. So I have frozen a ton for Ralph and I to have when he's back, and had a yummy lunch the next day. Now to lie on the couch and watch 30 Rock...