Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I'm starting this week off with some much needed comfort food. Life has been particularly good, but I've been a little depressed lately so I'm craving warm meals that remind me of home. When I feel like this, I want to make a meal that I can rewarm again and again over the next couple of days so I can just come home, grab a blanket and a book, and ignore the world. Can we all talk about how great macaroni and cheese is at accomplishing this feat?

I love macaroni and cheese. It's one of those dishes that no matter how many times you make it, it can be a little bit different each time you make it. The steps stay the same every single time but changing up the cheeses used, using pancetta for bacon, or switching out Tabasco for Worcestershire completely changes the flavor and how it makes you feel. This time I opted to use Vermont cheddar, smoked gouda, and Havarti cheeses. I threw in the roasted red peppers on a whim, and I'm not the least bit ashamed to say that I loved it. Have you ever considered using crushed Triscuits instead of bread crumbs? Because I have, and I don't know why more people aren't on this! I have three different flavors of Triscuits in the house and all three worked great as a topping and were easier than using actual bread crumbs. Just making this dish put me in a better mood immediately.

Chef's note: 'Al Dente' is Italian for "to the tooth" and when it's used in cooking, it means the pasta should still be a little bit firm when you bite into it (i.e. slightly crunchy).


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