Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mac 'n Cheese, please!

Hello there! I will also introduce myself: my name is Lindsey. I love chocolate (like, love love), and just food in general (duh). I love to cook and bake although recently I have been too tired from work to do much of it (lame excuse, I know). But when I'm really compelled by a recipe or idea I do it. I make it. And I love to!

I'm the kind of person who has a lot of internet tabs open all the time--I don't know why--it just happens. Like how clothes keep piling up on my floor (I swear it wasn't me) and how'd my desk get so messy? I just seem to have this habit of compiling things until the point of me getting really frustrated that I've compiled all those things and uggghh I gotta clean shit up. So. Here's what I do: I clean shit up (-ish). And I do that with my internet tabs too. When you have Stumble Upon it's way too easy to find all these interesting sites, and since I don't have time to look at them right away: I save that tab, open up a new one, etc. etc. They all collect atop my browser, and once I realize that I have to scroll right or left on my tab bar, well, that's when I know it's time to look and see what I've gotten myself into. And now I know it's too late to say "long story short" but it still sounds good, so: long story short, one of my saved tabs was a blog that had a macaroni and cheese recipe.

I felt my calling. It was time to pursue my (immediate future) destiny.

The result was pretty tasty.

I manipulated the original recipe to fit my needs/wants/what I had in my fridge. I feel like you can do that with almost any recipe, and that way you put your own personal spin on things. Don't be afraid! Here's how it goes:

Servings: 3-4 in 8x8 dish, double ingredients for 13x9

  • 2 cups rotini (or similar pasta)
  • 4 Tbsp butter (Salted Butter)
  • 1-2 whole medium onions (depending on how onion-y you like it), cut in half and sliced thin
  • 5-7 slices prosciutto or pancetta
  • 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup non-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 whole egg yolk, beaten
  • salt n pepa, to taste
  • 1 cup-ish of Quattro Formaggio cheese blend from Trader Joe's (parmesan, asiago, fontina, provolone) -OR- 1 cup-ish of similar cheese(s)
  • Bread crumbs (optional)

Preparation instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni for half the time of the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Fry prosciutto/pancetta until slightly, but not overly, crispy. Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and then saute onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and soft. Set aside.

In a pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in milk and half & half, then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Beat egg yolk and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly. Stir to combine. Pour egg mixture into sauce and cook for another minute.

Add cheeses and stir until melted. Add onions and prosciutto/pancetta and stir. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if needed. Add cooked rotini pasta and stir to coat.

Pour into an 8x8 baking dish, sprinkle bread crumbs on top if you want (I didn't do this, although it would probably be delicious!). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until sizzling and hot. Serve with vegetables so you don't feel too guilty. I threw some raw spinach in my bowl and mixed it in with the mac 'n cheese.

So good. So. Good.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bowties & Spicy Broccolette

Hello! This is Lauren and I'm here to kick off our new blog - Delicious Dish! We started this blog to discuss the one thing that keeps us from hating each other - food. We plan to discuss recipes we try, restaurants we go to, and whatever other food-related topics we feel like discussing. We all live on the West Coast, so we will mainly discuss Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.

To tell you a little about myself: I'm kind of new to cooking and baking, but I enjoy trying new recipes. I'm mostly drawn to healthy recipes for dinner and horrible-for-you recipes for dessert. I also like baking breads and am honing my skills in that area (it's complicated...especially with an oven that runs too hot and crazily). I love going to new restaurants, but it takes really good food for me to start raving about one.

I'm just going to get this out right now, before you think I have a problem I that hasn't been acknowledged: I love hot sauce. Specifically, Tapatio. I buy maybe four 32 ouncers a year. I have been known to consume it by itself, in the privacy of my own home where no one can shame me for it. I will probably talk about it as if it were my close friend.

Now, for my first topic. Dinner. I went searching through my collection of recipes and picked one that I tore from the Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. I gave it a whirl - like I said, I'm kind of new to actual cooking. It actually went really smoothly. I actually read ahead to make sure I wouldn't have to rush to chop something in the middle of cooking something else.

Now, one of the letters to the editor complained that Rachael Ray's (RR) recipes were often bland. I have to agree that some of them are lacking (i.e. Cajun Chicken Fingers - put some Tapatio on that shit!), but Bowties & Spicy Broccoli Rabe was delicious and plenty flavorful for me. Maybe it was all the salt I accidentally ("accidentally"?) added. Please see the RR recipe below.

Bowties and Spicy Broccoli Rabe with Crunchy Crumbs

Rachael Ray

Serves 4; 15 minutes to prep; 35 minutes to cook

1 head garlic
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 1/4 lbs) - I used broccolette and I thought it went fine
1 lb farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 red chile, seeded and chopped finely - I couldn't find this, so I used a serrano pepper...
1 dinner roll - I think any bread will do; I used an english muffin I made a few weeks ago
1 pint ricotta cheese

1. Fill a large saucepan three-quarters full with water. Add the garlic (separated into unpeeled cloves with the base of each clove trimmed), bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes; transfer the garlic to a plate. Reserve the saucepan of boiling water. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and halve lengthwise (I am just now seeing this "halve lengthwise" business...leave them whole if you feel rebellious!).

2. Add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water and cook until the stems are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse with cold water until cool.

3. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente.

4. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved broccoli rabe and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, stir in the chile and transfer to a medium bowl. Wipe the skillet clean, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of the dinner roll breadcrumbs (I only crumbled about 1/4 cup, so I'll probably be missing out when I get to the last few plates of this dish - DO NOT SKIP THE BREADCRUMBS. I was going to skip them to save time, but they are really good in this dish) and cook, stirring, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and return to the pot. Stir in the ricotta and reserved pasta water, then the broccoli rabe mixture; season with salt and pepper. Top with the crunchy breadcrumbs.

If you don't think it's got flavor, just add more salt and pepper. Red chile flakes would have been good in here as well.
Over and Out!