01 May 2008

Dressed-Up Mac and Cheese

A while ago, I decided to go check out the organic market near the apartment. I found an 8 ounce block of beautiful, creamy white raw milk sharp cheddar cheese. It's been sitting in the fridge for a bit, patiently waiting for me to get the inspiration of what to do with it - and it hasn't been easy, trying to find something that would really show off the flavor of the cheese. Now that I've cooked with half of it, the rest will probably be snacked on with crackers.

This pasta is kind of a dressed-up mac and cheese. I used homemade pasta, but you could certainly use store-bought, in any shape that you like. It is fantastically creamy and surprisingly easy to make.

Pasta with Cheddar Sauce

1 recipe homemade pasta, or 1 pound dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
Salt and Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
Pinch nutmeg
4 ounces grated sharp white cheddar (best quality you can find!)

1. Cook the pasta until al dente and preheat the oven to 350F.

2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, but not brown. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the flour and cook for a few minutes so it doesn't taste raw. Stirring constantly, slowly add the milk.

4. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-5 minutes.

5. Add the shredded cheese to the pot.

6. Stir the cheese into the sauce until it is smooth and velvety.

7. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir until it is well-coated. Transfer to a buttered baking dish.

8. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the tops of the pasta are golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

Currently, I'm reading... In Persuasion Nation, by George Saunders.

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