Thursday, February 11, 2010
Mac and Cheese
I loathe winter. I'm sick of looking at the bright side of all the snow and cold--reminds us how great summer is, makes for a good growing year--bull. I am nursing a serious case of cabin fever. Every morning, I roll up the blinds to gaze out into my backyard and the snow is still there. I haven't seen the ground, nay half of my driveway, since early December. I get through long days at the office by eating my lunch outside and by taking a mid-afternoon stroll. I haven't done this since November or maybe even October. I raise my angry fist to Mother Nature, I beg for mercy and it has yet to come. I am full-on lusting after spring. I need it. I need green, water running into storm drains, chirping birds, the sun outside my window in the morning, tulips, thunderstorms, asparagus. I would gladly trade 10 tornados for a snowy day.
To compensate for my misery (yes, I use food as a coping mechanism), I've been enjoying quite a bit of comfort food lately. And this here is the creamiest, cheesiest macaroni in existence. The only thing that would make it more comforting is if I ate it while snuggling under a fleece blanket in front of a fireplace. I heard a lot about this mac and cheese from friends before receiving the recipe as a Christmas present. My first instinct is to be a little turned off by the presence of Velvetta--that yellow processed cheese able to be stored at room temperature for eternity without going bad--but man it's so good.
Hansen Family Macaroni and Cheese: from Sarah Baker Hansen
1 1/2 cup large macaroni pasta
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup onion, diced
4 ounces Velvetta cheese
Preheat the oven to 350. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions (probably about 10 minutes). Drain.
In a separate skillet on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour. Stir continuously, the mixture will thicken, bubble and then turn a nutty brown color. Be careful not to burn the flour. Add the milk and onion, continue stirring for a couple minutes until onion has been softened slightly. Add the Velvetta to the skillet, stir until melted. Blend in the pasta, stirring to coat with the cheese. Transfer macaroni and cheese to a casserole and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Baking it gives the macaroni a nice creamy crust.