Monday, January 14, 2008

I Heart Macaroni and Cheese

As a child, one of my all-time favorite things to eat was macaroni and cheese. I used to look forward to a big bowl of the stuff, compliments of that familiar yellow and blue box of course. My mom could get pretty creative with it too; she’d sometimes throw in some crispy, chopped up bacon, or scramble up some eggs and stir it into the cheesy mixture, or make a tuna casserole out of it by adding canned tuna, then popping it into the oven until it got all bubbly and crispy on top. Needless to say, mac ‘n cheese always brings back a warm and fuzzy feeling to me, and as a grown-up, has become one of my favorite comfort foods. There are lots of different versions out there, but this weekend’s mac and cheese recipe comes from Ina Garten, aka the Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa. Ina is not known to shy away from all things buttery, rich, and creamy, and this recipe is certainly no exception. The only change I made to it was substituting Japanese Panko in place of the fresh breadcrumbs to top off the dish. I liked the addition of tomatoes on top which were baked into the cheese and Panko crumbs but I think the overall flavor was a little subtle for my taste buds. Perhaps I simply needed to add a tad bit more salt, or maybe adding something like mustard powder would give it that extra kick I was wanting? I did like the consistency very much though but be sure to eat this soon after baking in order to get the most of both the crispiness and creaminess of the dish. This recipe also makes a huge amount so you may want to share some with your friends. I have to say, the warm and fuzzies came and lingered for a long while this weekend. Enjoy!


Gigi said...

I love mac and cheese. Have you tried Ina's 5 cheese with penne? It will knock your socks off.

Deborah said...

I made this same recipe awhile back, also substituting Panko, but I didn't do the tomatoes. I did add some parsley to the topping as well, and I think that added a bit. The mustard powder sounds like it would be a great addition, though.