But can you ever really have too many mac & cheese recipes? I think not.
I was checking out Recipe Girl's site a while back and came upon her recipe for stuffed manicotti, and a light suddenly went on in my head. I've tried manicotti and stuff shells a few times in the past and always struggled with the boiled pasta splitting when I tried to fill it. She leaves the pasta uncooked, which makes it supremely easy to fill, and then covers it with a good amount of sauce so that everything cooks through. Brilliant! I followed her lead and made stuffed shells, and it worked like a charm.
And then I started thinking about other pasta dishes, and thought, why precook the pasta for macaroni and cheese? And why not throw in a generous amount of wine while I'm at it? The method is simple: make up your cheese sauce, toss with dry pasta, and bake. They key is to have a very saucy sauce that covers all of the pasta. And the end result is a perfectly al dente macaroni and cheese, with a nice strong wine flavor if you do it my way.
I also tossed in some chopped broccoli to add a veggie to the dish, and pretend its healthy despite the generous amounts of cheese I used. And I love BBQ alongside my macaroni and cheese, so I baked up some tofu slathered with BBQ sauce alongside it.
I'm still smitten with my large red ramekins, so I made individual servings of mac & cheese. Large individual servings, that is.
Here's the recipe!
Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese
for two hungry people
1 cup dry pasta
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup white wine
Salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or your favorite/mix
Preheat the oven to 375F.
To make the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan of medium low heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns golden brown. Then add the milk and stir occasionally until the mixture thickens. Add the wine (use more milk and less wine if you don't want it too wine-y), seasonings (salt and pepper as desired, garlic, red pepper flakes, or whatever else tickles your pickle), and cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted into the sauce.
Add the dry pasta and broccoli and toss until coated. Divide between to large ramekins, or one large oven-safe dish. Top with more shredded cheese if desired. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes or so to crisp up the top.