It's interesting how Jen, Carole and I all ended up making, and posting, pasta recipes over the past three days without having any knowledge of what the others were doing. This, despite our early-spring dreams of grilling and BBQing from last week, this week's return of cold temps and a dumping of snow obviously sent us all running back to comfort foods. My motive for returning to mac 'n' cheese was twofold: it's Maddie's favourite and she pointed out that we hadn't had it in a while, and I needed a make-ahead meal for one evening this week since I knew I'd likely be working late.
So I went looking for a new twist on the old fave. When I saw "caramelized shallots" in the name of this recipe, I personally would have skipped the pasta and cheese part and stopped right there and tossed them on a salad and been totally happy, but I realize it might not have fit the bill for the not-so-little ones. The recipe called for two cheeses so I used old cheddar and a bit of brie that was hanging around and needed a home before it began to grow a furry green coat. I skipped adding the goat cheese to the shallot topping since it seemed like it would be gilding the lily. Too much of even a cheesy good thing....
Needless to say, this was creamy, rich, stick-to-your-ribs delicious and the crisp sweetness of the shallots was a nice change from plain old breadcrumbs on top. The leftovers went quickly as well.
Mac and Two Cheeses with Caramelized Shallots
adapted from epicurious.com
some butter and extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups sliced large shallots (about 6)
8 ounces pasta
1 finely chopped onion
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups warm milk
2 cups (packed) coarsely grated old cheddar
1/2 cup brie, rind removed and cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Melt some butter and oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, until shallots are deep brown, stirring often, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally; drain well.
While pasta is cooking, melt some butter in a medium saucepan, add the onions and cook slowly over medium heat for about 6 to 8 minutes, until slightly brown. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add the warmed milk and return to a simmer. Sauce will thicken and then you can add the cheese. Remove from heat and stir until cheeses melt.
Toss the pasta with the sauce and then pour into oven dish. Top with shallots and cook for about 15 minutes.
Rest of the week
March 22 Mac and Two Cheeses with Caramelized Shallots
March 23 Omelettes
March 24 Assorted paninis