Thursday, October 6, 2011

Return of the Mac

THIS MAC AND CHEESE IS OK.  NOT GREAT.  But the Day 2 idea was so delicious it rescued Day 1 from the maw of 'meh'.  These days I'm looking for large recipes that can be meted out for lunch the next day and beyond (I want to bring my lunch consistently, and not just another Frozen Entree, Not Otherwise Specified) and this was featured in the Big Batch section of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Oct 2011; as well as dishes that are rather filling and heavy so I don't wander around the department trying to find satiation in unattended bowls of Tootsie Rolls round about 3 p.m. (when blood glucose reaches a nadir, resulting in what I call the bitching hour).

Day 2: Sausage and Spinach Alfredo
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 T EVOO over medium heat.  Add 1 medium thinly sliced red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.  Add 1/2 lb sweet Italian sausages, casings removed and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and cook, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Add 4 cups reserved macaroni and cheese to skillet, gently stirring to combine.  Stir in 2 T heavy cream and 5 oz (=5 cups) baby spinach, washed, and cook until spinach begins to wilt., about 4 minutes.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.
That's right, cheesy goodness pushed to new heights by the additional of heavy cream and sausage.  Who knew?

Day 1: Three-Cheese Macaroni
1 pound elbow macaroni
5 T unsalted butter
6 T AP flour
4 cups whole milk @ room temperature
3/4 t ground mustard
1/2 t Old Bay
8 oz shredded white cheddar
4 oz shredded Monterey Jack
1/2 oz grated Parmesan (1/4 cup)

1.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni according to package; drain.
2.  In pot, melt 4 T butter over medium.  Whisk in flour and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden and has a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes.  [First you make a roux, my mom says].
3.  Whisking constantly, slowly add milk.  Cook, whisking along bottom of pot, until boiling, about 7 minutes.  Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 10-12 minutes.  Remove from heat and add 1 T butter, mustard, Old Bay and cheeses.  Stir until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth; season with salt.  Add macaroni to sauce and stir to combine.  (Set aside 4 cups for Day 2... but really just skip to a doubled Day 2).

This meal... good chow.

Luke is still working on his songbook... with the singing and the piano-playing, the only things I can do right now are cook and eat and write about cooking and eating.  There are worse things.  End of good-natured spouse-grouse. :)


  1. Spinach and sausage is certainly fancier than the tuna and peas we added to mac and cheese in undergrad!

    Try Chili for some meal extension:
    Day 1. Chili
    Day 2. Tamale Pie! (This is Joy of Cooking inspired--basically corn bread in a pie pan, chili, corn, shredded cheddar, and corn bread on top, bake at 350 for about 40 minutes--unbelievably yummy!)
    Day 3. Chili dogs
    Day 4. Chili Mac
    Day 5. Chili Nachos

    Chili is basically like shrimp in Forrest Gump.

  2. A week of chili... that sounds awesome!!!