Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Dinner

Yesterday, September 30, was a special day for our family. It was the 4th birthday for one of my granddaughters and we had her sister and her mom over for dinner. One of the favourite dinners the girls love is macaroni and cheese, so I decided to work with one of my favorite celebrity cooks recipe to recreate his version of this dish. Given the day was a bit overcast, it was a great comfort food choice. One of my collection of his books is The Best of Chef at Home so I followed the recipe from there. While this recipe is not here with Michael's permission, I hope it is okay to reproduce and it entices you to look for his book or search online for more of his recipes.

Preheat your oven to 350* and put 450g of penne pasta on to boil in well salted water.

While the pasta cooks, make the sauce by melting 70g of butter in a large saucepan and stirring in a couple of chopped garlic cloves to flavour the butter. After a few moments, add 2/3 of a cup of flour and stir to make a roux. Let the roux cook for a few moments, and add a splash of white wine. Stir a bit more and when you have a smooth roux, add a 370ml can of evaporated milk and a litre of the type of milk you like to drink (I used 2%). Switch to a whisk and keep whisking until the mixture is thickened. I used a food processor to grate 450g of medium cheddar cheese and then added it to the sauce along with 2tbs of Dijon mustard, 1tbs of paprika, a pinch of cayenne, and 1tsp sea salt. By now, the pasta was cooked, drained, and added to the sauce. Tear up some Italian bread and toss with olive oil. Place the macaroni and cheese in a good sized casserole dish, cover the top with the bread, and place in the oven for about 30 minutes.

While this may not be the most precious photo of Caia enjoying her birthday, I think it stands as a pretty good indicator of how much she enjoyed the dish.

Since my granddaughters and daughters are vegetarians, it isn't always easy to design a meal that really hits the spot. This one most certainly did.

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