Monday, April 6, 2009

Mac and cheese for grown-ups

For 2 big servings or 4 little side-dish servings:

Cook 4 oz of your favorite dried short pasta, whether macaroni or some other kind. I used some of the gemelli we bought at our Caputo's expedition a month ago. Boil up some salted water, drop the pasta in, and cook until it doesn't crunch--usually 8 - 10 minutes depending on the shape of the pasta.

Meanwhile, make the sauce:
  • Melt 1/4 C oil (butter is nice) and
  • Add 1/4 C flour and 1/2 tsp salt, stirring until the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour in a bottle (about 12 oz) of beer. I used Warsteiner Dunkel because we had some, but I would have liked the results better with a light-colored beer: a pilsner or just plain old American yellow beer. Mr Neff, however, liked his bitter mac and cheese.
  • Stir the mixture over medium heat until it starts to thicken.
  • Add about 4 oz grated cheddar cheese, preferably sharp or extra-sharp. Keep stirring until the sauce is smooth.
  • Finally stir in a teaspoon or more of something to add zing. I used some leftover adobo sauce. You can use mustard, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce--whatever sounds good to you.
Drain the pasta, stir it into the sauce, and serve. Garnish if you like with parsley or chopped tomato, or sprinkle on some coarsely ground black pepper.

It's quick, it's cheap, it's nutritious, it's Lent!

I served this tonight along with the last of the m√Ęche lettuce, tomato wedges, and those eight carefully counted Brussels sprouts I bought Saturday. For dessert we had blackberries with a dollop of yogurt. We drank water. And if you're in the mood for water too, and would like some music to go along with it, click here and listen to Mrs Olive Coberley of Wheatland, Missouri, singing the old temperance song "Away, Away the Bowl." This recording was made 50 years ago.

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