Monday, September 9, 2013

Retaking the Kitchen: Mac and Cheese

It's been about 3 years since I last cooked a meal. For most of the past 3 years we had a helper who was a very good cook but also very OC about the kitchen. She saw the kitchen as kinda her turf, so even if it was in our house we weren't very welcome there. Which was fine with us since she was a very capable cook, and I can't even begin to compete with that cooking. However, she left us a few months ago (May, to be exact) to take care of her bedridden sibling. Her replacement was a less capable cook, but less OC with the kitchen too. So, after a few months of hawing and stewing, I have decided to retake the kitchen. However, after 3 years out of the galley I'm not exactly an Iron Chef (never was), so I began my offensive with a dish so simple my 3-year-old could make it. This mac and cheese is not the classic American mac and cheese made with bechamel; rather, it is a gooey version of the classic Italian cacio e pepe. Way easier to make than the American mac and cheese, and cheesier.


cheese, grated (preferably medium hard like Monterey Jack or gouda so they're amenable to melting)
freshly ground pepper (optional)

1. Cook pasta; put some salt in the water for taste.When cooked, drain the water but don't dry it out too much. You want just a little of the steam and hot water to remain with the pasta so it will melt the cheese.

2. Put (lots of) grated cheese on the piping hot pasta. Mix thoroughly. Your pasta will turn into a gooey, cheesy mess. Which is exactly what you want.

Garnish with sauteed mushrooms, crisp bacon bits, or whatever you think goes well with cheese. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve to 3-year-old boy with a voracious appetite who wouldn't share.

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