The pickle man

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese: Comfort in a time of Research Papers

It's that time of year loathed by every English teacher I know... the kids submitted their research papers last week.  Since mine get dual-enrollment credit (i.e., high school and college credit at the same time), they had to write 1500 word wonders.  I have 82 students.  And as I look at the numbers I just typed, I am suddenly glad that I can't do that multiplication in my head.  It would depress me.  And yet they are the ones who have the nerve to complain!

Inevitably, they submit the papers just as the weather gets unbearably beautiful in north Louisiana.  Days are warm, nights are cool.

And this is soooo short-lived! I want to be outside with my boys... where, of course, flowers are blooming.

And oak trees.
And grass.
And everything else that I'm allergic to.

I have never graded research papers without a large box of Kleenex and a Z-pack.

So when my husband begged for homemade mac and cheese, I smiled.  Comfort food with enough flavors that I can taste it even with a head cold.

First, cook one pound of macaroni, but not too much.  About 4-5 minutes should do it - you want it to stay firm (or else you will have mush and cheese instead of mac and cheese).  Rinse with cold water to prevent it from sticking.  Place 1/3 of the cooked pasta in the bottom of a buttered casserole.

Cover it with 1/3 of the cheese...
And then 1/3 of the sauce (You make the sauce by melting 3 Tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, stirring in 3 tablespoons of flour, and hot milk (scalded - cooked in the microwave for 2 minutes).  Cook until thick.

Repeat!  Until it's finished.  Then top with breadcrumbs - this kind :)
Dot with more butter if you are really in need of comfort. 

Put it in the oven for 45 minutes, and go outside (into the pollen induced wonderland) to take pictures of your baby (or at least that's what I did). 
Even with a runny nose, he's pretty darned cute :)

And when you come back inside, this will be ready! 

Can you say, "I need to go running!" 

Recipe, adapted from The Old Farmer's Almanac Everyday recipes (although whoever makes this everyday is probably not grading research papers). 

1 pound macaroni, cooked 4-5 minutes in boiling, salted water. It should still be firm!
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
3 cups milk (whole for richer mac and cheese)
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups (1 pound) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
more butter to dot on top :)

In a saucepan, melt the butter.  Stir with flour until combined.  Cook 3-4 minutes. Add the milk, salt, and pepper.  Simmer until thick (about 10 minutes).  In a buttered casserole, layer the macaroni, cheese, and sauce.  Top with breadcrumbs.  Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. 

1 comment:

  1. You are right, he is pretty darn cute and more :) Oh, the mac and cheese looks great too!