06 August 2006

happy birthday mom

she would have been 62 today.

been a weird day, and now i'd like to talk... but my husband is sacked out on the crouton (what we call the futon in our office, don't ask) behind me. he's the world's worst snorer. is that a word?

anyhow, the poor dear.. he left me the biggest pain in my ass piece of cookware we own: the mario batali super deep lasagna pan. the cook's illustrated that arrived on friday says the thing weighs eleven pounds EMPTY. i think my biceps have a nice pump on them at the moment.

i made macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight. best i've ever made i think. anyhoo, w/o further ado, here's the recipe:

5 T unsalted butter
5 T all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t freshly ground nutmeg
¼-½ t cayenne pepper
2 T dry white wine
1 qt half and half (you could use milk... make it whole milk tho)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb pasta (we used fusilli tonight, but anything corkscrewesque or even the old standby, elbows, would work), cooked slightly less than al dente
½ c bread crumbs
2 T butter, cut into small pats

preheat oven to 375°.

in a 4-5 qt deep sauce-type pan or dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the butter. add the garlic, cayenne, and nutmeg and when fragrant, add the flour. stir frequently and allow to cook 2-3 mins. if it starts getting too brown, back off slightly on the heat. you're cooking out the raw taste of the flour. add the wine and whisk. next, add about 1-2 cups of the half and half, and whisk vigorously till incorporated. add the rest of the half and half and whisk well.

raise the heat a skosh, still whisking frequently, till your brand-new bechamel sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. kill the heat and in about 4 batches, add the cheese, whisking to incorporate each batch before adding another.

butter the bottom and sides of a 13x9 or so casserole and pour the pasta into it. add the sauce and stir to combine. scatter the bread crumbs over the top and add the small pieces of butter. bake on the middle rack of your oven for 30-35 mins. if the top isn't brown enough for your liking, turn on the broiler and give it a couple of minutes.

remove from oven and allow to sit 15 min or so before serving.

we had that and a dark green salad for dinner. it was quite lovely.


1 comment:

laine said...

happy birthday mom.

holy shit... that pan, no wonder your back hurts.

i love mac and cheese, the real kind like that... gonna hafta do that one soon. and oh, great word, corkscrewesque.