Mac & Cheese

Yet another yummy recipe from the Kitchen of Testing of America. Talk about yer comfort food- this must be at the top of Henry Lunchbox and Sally Housecoat’s Top 10 Best Down-home Recipes of The Unity-States. Though, with such a simple name, it could also masquerade as a clever, tongue-in-cheek kind of gourmet nonsense served at The French Laundry. (The title of the dish on the menu would quaintly read: “Mac & Cheese” and the description would read something like: “a delicate gratin of black-pepper flecked, wholegrain, fresh pasta with six locally-made cheeses, topped with a golden crust of panko and organic parsley, peashoot greens and a soupçon of chile-oil reduction sauce and mango-chutney glaze. $56.00)

Regardless, we actually watched the episode of the programme when they made this recipe. The goal was to produce something that was satisfying and ‘adult’, creamy and cheesy, with a crunchy, golden-baked topping. I like that they test multiple variations of the recipe and then show the audience the failures before launching into the Champion Recipe. The failures on this one were awful, gummy, sticky blobs of pasta made even more unappetizing by the way the host picked up big spoonfuls and then let the pasta flop back down into the dish.

The Champion, however, looked extremely good so we gave it a try. Because Marc follows directions precisely, it turned out looking just like the one on TV and tasted marvelous. It’s a simple thing – pasta with cheese sauce – but when done well like this, it deserves more credit. It has more calories and fat content than I care to review as it is made with whole milk, contains no fruit or vegetables and uses obscene quantities of cheddar and monterey jack cheese. But, oh, so delicious! It meets the challenge: creamy? check; cheesy? oh yeah, check; yummy, crunchy, breaded topping (made with butter, of course)? check, check, check! I don’t think it would qualify as ‘adult’ though, unless it was served with spinach salad or at the French Laundry. Or by someone in a French Maid costume.

P.S. This warmed over beautifully into molten, cheesy splendor.

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