Birthday Macaroni and Cheese

Maddie turned 11 this week and I predicted she'd be asking for macaroni and cheese for her dinner birthday meal. And she did. She also asked for a familiar version, just to be assured full satisfaction on her special day, instead of her mom throwing in cauliflower or squash or some exotic ingredient that she'd never heard of, let alone wanted to eat. And that seemed a reasonable request, considering that she's eaten (or at least sampled) a whole lot of different stuff over the past several months, some of which she really didn't like, and has generally been a pretty good sport about this whole culinary journey.
So, in the interests of full disclosure, I'll admit that this recipe is a slight repeat of something I posted earlier in the year, although we didn't actually eat it that day--we had a healthier veggie-crammed version since Q was off to some sporting event. But this is probably our fave mac/cheese recipe that we've found and I was willing to make an exception of a repeat for her just for this one day. Hopefully the gesture will buy me some goodwill as we complete the final two months of the challenge.
This recipe is simple but incredibly rich, mainly due to the addition of the mascarpone. Decadent, delicious and hearty for a fall night. Lots of leftovers too.

Rich Baked Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from Bittman's How to Cook Everything

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1 lb pasta of your choice
4 tbsp mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups grated cheese, like sharp cheddar (set aside 1/4 cup for topping)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta; drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat the milk in another pot.

In a large saucepan, heat the butter and oil and then add the onions. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook for about 3 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of the warmed milk, stirring with a wire whisk. As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, gradually add more milk until the mixture is thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the two cheeses. Toss the cooked pasta with the cheese mixture and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Top with parmesan, reserved cheese and breadcrumbs. Cook for 20 minutes.

Rest of the week

Oct 14 Pizza night

Oct 15 Pre-half-marathon carb-loading of pesto/sundried tomato spaghettini with chicken

Oct 16 Shared birthday dinner at The Keg

Oct 17 Maddie's birthday macaroni and cheese


  1. Maddie is so my kind of girl and I absolutely have to try this mac & cheese out. It sounds so perfectly birthday worthy!

    Since you've been on the challenge for over a year now, I think a slight repeat is ok!


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