I’m indulging an unseasonable appetite for fat right now. Maybe some kind of last oily hurrah before the weather gets serious again. I know we’ll have to lighten up soon. Until the mercury rises above the grease saturation point, I’m swooning over butterfat and carbs, that dependable duo.
Here’s an easy baked macaroni and cheese dish I modified from a New York Times recipe some years ago. It bakes for an hour, but guess what. The noodles go in RAW! That’s right. You don’t have to worry about preboiling. Easy and rich, just like it says.
EASY RICH MAC-N-CHEESE serves several
- 1 cup organic or local full-fat cottage cheese. I use Organic Valley. Sometimes Full Quiver Farm makes cottage cheese. Ask ’em next time you’re shopping at Austin Farmers Market and Barton Creek Farmers Market.
- 2 cups local or organic milk. I use goat milk from either Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm.
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt. I like Real Salt.
- a couple dashes of freshly grated nutmeg
- plenty of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bulb of local green garlic
- 2 Tablespoons water
- drizzle of organic or natural truffle oil, optional. Check the label.
- about 13 ounces local or organic cheese, mostly sharp cheddar, shredded or grated. For this batch I used about 7 ounces cheddar, 3½ ounces Swiss and the rest Parmigiano-Reggiano. Check out Full Quiver Farms and selection of hard cheeses. Be flexible!
- ½ pound uncooked organic whole wheat elbow macaroni. I buy this in Bulk and bring my own container.
- a couple of Tablespoons organic or local butter, cut up. Organic Valley again. Click for a coupon.
- 1/3 cup organic panko breadcrumbs or homemade dried breadcrumbs or organic cracker crumbs. Someone around here can’t survive without Whole Foods 365 organic golden round crackers. They make Ritzy crumbs for topping baked dishes.
Put the first 10 ingredients into a blender and blend very well until well-homogenized. Stir into the macaroni along with the cheeses. Place the mixture into a buttered 1½ quart casserole and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully uncover and gently stir the contents. Dot the surface with the butter and sprinkle the crumbs over all over the top. Return the dish to the oven and bake uncovered for about another 30 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and the top is well-browned.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. That is the hardest part of making this dish!
Serve hot and eat it carefully!