Saturday, April 6, 2013

My adventures with Mac and Cheese, or my second foodie post.

Well, since I was bored, and the last foodie post I made had 140+ hits (the most traffic any post in my blog has ever received  I've decided to post another entry in my adventures in amateur photography/cooking.

First of all I'd like to say whenever I bake something, I without fail, burn myself.

That didn't happen this time.

Also, this was my first time ever making "real mac and cheese."

Usually I use this:
















with a little dijion, and it turns out pretty good.

But I was looking through a collection of old magazines and saw this:


and thought I had to make it. So that begin my adventures with Mac and Cheese, and the first time I've ever used a recipe. What can I say, I learned to cook by watching(mostly food network!)

The first thing I did was cut red peppers into inch(ish) sized pieces and boil them with a little garlic until they were soft.





Those smelled awesome as they were cooking.

While that was going on I toasted some panko breadcrumbs with a tiny bit of butter.
The recipe called for golden brown, but they didn't get quite there because I was afraid they were going to burn. So I pulled them off the burner and mixed them with about two tablespoons of butter, and a 1/4 cup of parmesan.



It browned up later when I baked it.

After that I added some very very finely chopped roasted red pepper from a jar and 1/4 cup of the jar's juice to the boiled red pepper along with a cup of sharp cheddar, a cup of mozzarella, a quarter cup of cabot white extra sharp cheddar, and a good spoonful of chili paste. The recipe called for peppadew but I live in a hick town, and the grocery store person hadn't even heard of peppadew.

Then I mixed it for awhile (the recipe called for a food proccessor, which I don't have for some ungodly reason, and I highly reccommend you do that if you don't like chunks of red pepper.

This is what the mix looked like when I was done:

Yes, that is a horrible picture. I was afraid the mac and cheese would turn out watery, but it dried up quite nicely.
The recipe called for cooking the noodles until tender, but I cooked them until al dente, while the noodles where cooking I buttered my cast iron baking dish:


Then I put the noodles and sauce in the pan and topped it with the panko bread crumb mixture from earlier:


After about thirty minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit, this is what I pulled out of the oven:



My mistake was topping it with parmesan half way through cooking, and yes those are breadcrumbs you see on the bottom of the picture.

No, I didn't eat all of it, there is still a good half a pan in my fridge.
Anyhow, it was pretty good, and a lot better than "normal" mac and cheese. I think if I had used the peppadews it would of had  a sweetness that would have counteracted the slight spicyness of the red pepper. I might make it again.

Below are the original and my recipes,

The orignal:

Ingredients

  • 7- to 8-ounce red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved, divided
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup drained mild Peppadew peppers in brine, 1 tablespoon brine reserved
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ancho chiles
  • 1  (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (packed) coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella
  • 8 ounces medium shell pasta or gemelli
  • ingredient info

    Peppadew peppers are available in jars or in the deli section at some supermarkets, at specialty foods stores, and from peppadew.com.

    Look for panko at supermarkets and at Asian markets. Ground ancho chiles are available in the spice section of supermarkets and at Latin markets.

Preparation

  • Bring 1/2 cup water, bell pepper, and 11/2 garlic cloves to boil in small saucepan. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pepper is soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Toast panko in skillet over medium-high heat until golden, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl; cool to lukewarm. Rub 1 tablespoon butter into crumbs to coat. Mix in 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  • Transfer bell pepper mixture to processor. Add Peppadews and 1 tablespoon brine, 2 tablespoons butter, ground chiles, and 1/2 garlic clove; then add cheddar and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Blend until sauce is smooth; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 8-cup baking dish (or 6 individual dishes). Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain; return to pot. Stir sauce and mozzarella into pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon pasta into dish. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
  • Bake pasta until topping is crisp and sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes (15 for individual). Let stand 10 minutes.


Mine:


Ingredients

  • 7- to 8-ounce red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • garlic clove.
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 stick salted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup drained roasted peppers in brine, 1 tablespoon brine reserved
  • spoon chili paste.
  • 1 8ounce pack  grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 8ounce coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella
  • 1 1/4 cup of cabot extra sharp white cheddar.
  • 8 ounces medium shell pasta or gemelli
  • Preparation

  • Bring 1/2 cup water, bell pepper, and garlic clove to boil in small saucepan. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pepper is soft

  • Toast panko and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in skillet over medium-high heat until golden, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl; cool to lukewarm. Rub 1 tablespoon butter into crumbs to coat. Mix in 1/4 cup Parmesan.

  • Transfer bell pepper mixture to bowl. Add roaster red pepper and 1 tablespoon brine, 2 tablespoons butter, chili paste; then add cheese. 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8-cup baking dish (or 6 individual dishes). Cook pasta in pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain; return to pot. Stir sauce and mozzarella into pasta. Spoon pasta into dish. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
  • Bake pasta until topping is crisp and sauce is bubbling, about 40 minutes 

Let me know if you try one(or both) recipes and how they turn out in the comments section.

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