I found this adorable multi-colored heart shaped pasta at TJ Maxx a couple months ago, and I forgot that it was in my cabinet. It slowly migrated to the back of said cabinet, and I found it tonight.
Since we just bought a house, I’ve been doing my best to cook out of our cabinets to avoid the grocery store, which…isn’t going to last much longer since we’re running out of essentials, like bread. But tonight I thought I would make something that my husband loves, mac & cheese, but gourmet it up a bit.
Mac & Cheese is so easy, it takes a little patience, and if you’re cooking with your child, a little more patience especially at the start when you have a million things to do, quickly, over a hot stove. It can be done, with your child, and it can be fun.
This is what you’ll need;
3 cups of milk (I use 2%)
4 cups grated cheese (I used, havarti dill, extra sharp cheddar and mozzarella)
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1 adobo pepper (you can omit, I wanted a little kick of spice)
1/8 tea salt
1/4 tea pepper
sometimes I used 1 clove of minced garlic. I didn’t this time, but I wanted to throw it out there as it is DELICIOUS with garlic
Preheat oven to 375 F
Okay, now what to do. It’s pretty easy actually. Get your pasta water boiling. I find it’s easiest to have everything set up before I start the actual cooking. What this means, is that I get my pasta strainer out and place it in the sink, and I get my mac & cheese dish that can go in the oven, ready. Today I used a deep pie dish. Once you prep this, you can start your pasta water and have your child help you grate all the cheese. (We use the grate a little, eat a little method). Set cheese aside. Next you need to make a rue. It’s really simple, but needs to be done evenly and a little fast. So get a whisk out for you and your child (or if you are a one whisk household as we are, your child gets the whisk, you get a wooden spoon). Add butter to medium-low heat. When butter is melted, quickly have your child dump in the flour and both of you stir like mad. When the mixture is gloopy and light brown, start adding the milk in 1/2 cup increments. This will allow both of you to stir without a lot of splashing, but also will allow the rue to thicken evenly.
Meanwhile, your pasta water should have boiled. Add your pasta of choice. I prefer shapes, anything will really work, it just depends on the consistency you like. Boil as per instructions and then drain. (Our method is to take a piece out and throw it at the wall. If it sticks, it’s ready!) Place into your baking dish. Once all the milk has been incorporated, start adding the cheese in handfuls, waiting (and mixing) until each handful has melted into your rue mixture. When all your cheese has been added, dump cheese sauce over baking dish. Chop up one canned adobo pepper and mix. Place into oven for 20 minutes. Your mac & cheese should be bubbly and delicious!