The recent long weekend inspired a hankering for a warm casserole. After consulting someone who would be benefiting from this endeavor--and keeping me calm in the process--mac and cheese was the warm, gooey dish upon which I set to work. I've made baked macaroni and cheese once before, with light and crunchy Panko bread crumbs on top. I looked at a bunch of recipes on epicurious.com, but didn't end up following any one of them very closely. We created the cheese sauce with butter, onions, garlic, flour, milk, cheddar, Gruyere, and nutmeg. It didn't seem cheesy or thick enough in the end, so we just grated in the rest of the cheese. The cheese sauce was poured over shells and gemelli pasta, a pound of peas, and a pound of chicken breast cooked ahead of time with cumin and curry powder. I made a feeble attempt at my own bread crumbs...next time I'll just skip it or use Panko again. (Read: Bakery sandwich bread torn into pieces, baked in a 350 oven, crumbled on top, then realized they were totally unseasoned, hmph.)
Pre-baking with some extra cheese added at the last minute:
Here's a picture that shows the whole heterogeneous mixture (and a little bit of salad) post-oven: It was good enough to have second helpings, and to eat for lunch the next two days. But next time, I might follow a recipe for the cheese sauce to make it a little creamier and thicker. Do you have a favorite baked mac & cheese recipe?