Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday Dinner

My aunt, uncle and cousin were visiting from out of town so we had them over for dinner since they didn't come up for Christmas and hadn't seen our new house yet. The weather has been rainy and dreary so I decided comfort food was in order. Macaroni and cheese:

... is always a favorite. My aunt is a vegetarian so I needed something meatless that would still be a substantial meal. I think this was the best mac & cheese I've ever made. I made a traditional bechamel using butter, flour and milk, added some minced onion, bay leaves and smoked paprika, along with salt and pepper. For the cheeses I used cheddar and a little Swiss. As I was adjusting the seasonings I remembered reading somewhere that dry mustard or a little Dijon adds a nice kick to mac & cheese so I added 1/2 a teaspoon. You couldn't pick it out, but it definitely added to the overall flavor. Instead of elbows I used cavatappi, which is a corkscrew-shaped pasta. I thought it really added texture to the dish. For the topping I mixed Italian bread crumbs with some grated Pecorino and dabbed the top with butter and as a special touch I sliced some tomato to bake on top. Roasting the tomatoes really brought out their essence.

As always, Mom supplied the salad:

... made with romaine, cucumbers, Craisins, radishes, grated carrot and some croutons. And, of course, her special three-mustard dressing. I could eat that stuff like soup.
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