Recipe 30 – Very Special Macaroni and Cheese with Goat Cheese

Well, I’m officially back to work!  Preparing for a new job after a long time out of work really felt to me like preparing for the first day of school all over again: Packing the lunch, laying out the clothes, rearranging sleeping and eating schedules, etc.  While I’ve been enjoying getting back into the swing of things – and trying to keep straight all the various rules and regulation (there are a LOT!) – my little diva-dog had been losing her mind with pining.  My husband suggested I ask if they allow pets to be brought in.  I think I will wait for my probationary period to be over before testing those waters.

At my last job, Loverman was on days while I was on evenings, so for the most part we were on our own for dinner.  While training, however, I am on days, so when I get home it’s time for dinner.  Like, almost right away.  It’s only been two days, but I’ve been trying to make it easier by doing all the prep work I can the night before.  So far, so good – and hopefully that continues during my training time.  Don’t think any of this means that I’ve forsaken you, Weekly Mackers: last night I was dutifully grating cheese and measuring out herbs, etc, in order to continue this mad endeavor.

Oh, just a little not about the title of this mac: I totally didn’t make it up.  It’s a little… odd.

Very Special Macaroni and Cheese with Goat Cheese (from about.com)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni (I used corn fusilli)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour (or gluten-free substitute)
  • 2 cups milk, 2% is fine (well, I used skim, so there)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mixed herbs, or 2 teaspoons dried leaf herbs, thyme, sage, chives, etc. (I used all three of these in similar amounts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces goat cheese with herbs or plain (I used plain)
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Grease a 2-quart baking dish. Heat oven to 350°.

Cook macaroni following package directions; drain, rinse, and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in flour until well blended and bubbly. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly; continue cooking and stirring until slightly thickened. Add the herbs, salt, and pepper, then stir in the goat cheese and Cheddar (it smells amazing!). Stir in about 3 ounces of the Parmesan cheese. Continue cooking and stirring until cheeses have melted. Stir in the drained macaroni and turn into the prepared baking dish.

Combine bread crumbs with melted butter and toss with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbly and nicely browned.
Serves 4 to 6.

I wish you could smell this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rating: 4.5/5

I think I’ve made it clear how very much I love goat cheese.  This was no exception.  The picture above was a half recipe (that’s all the goat cheese I had), and after a long day at work, Loverman and I easily polished it off.  Per his usual, Loverman felt it would be much better if there was chicken breast in it.  I don’t think it would hurt things any, but I don’t think it’s strictly necessary either.  Similar to my last goat cheese recipe, I think mushrooms – probably portabellas? – would pair well with this if you were so inclined to change anything.  The various herbs I used added a subtle savory element, plus the tanginess of the goat cheese and the slight crunch of the bread crumbs with the Parmesan – perfection.

Funny thing I realized tonight while cooking: I’ve made so much mac and cheese this year that the steps to making the cheese sauce almost come naturally to me at this point.  I always like to double- and sometimes triple-check recipes (and still sometimes mess up), but it’s almost become a rhythm for me.  Ratios still perplex me, as I’m not a professional chef, but the process itself has become something of a breeze for the most part.

I’m not sure if I should feel proud of this new skill or embarrassed that I’ve made so much mac.

 

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