Tag Archives: cheese

Throw-It-Together Tuesday: Chipotle Mac and Cheese

Here is the series of events that led to tonight’s meal:

  1. I finally took my leaking-coolant-to-the-point-of-nearly-overheating car to the shop. Because I am a fool, I own a German car. Because repairing German cars (or, really any European cars– the in-laws have Saabs and many similar tales of woe) is expensive, ye olde bank account is, well…depleted.
  2. I got an official rejection letter from a recruiter I’d been talking to about a writer/researcher job (that was full-time telecommuting!), which didn’t lessen my job-hunting anxiety in any way.
  3. I’ve been watching a lot of Two Fat Ladies, and those broads do not shy away from the cheese, cream, butter, and oil.
  4. This recipe from Rainy Day Gal has been haunting me since it came up in my Reader. The minute I saw it, I knew it had to be mine! I also knew that, given some digestive challenges on the part of the husband, I would be on my own in eating it.
  5. I had a few chipotles left in the fridge after an only-semi-successful (read: not blog-worthy in its current form slow-cooker carnitas experiment.

And so, I give you…


Chipotle Mac and Cheese
adapted from Rainy Day Gal and Homesick Texan

Ingredients
2 cups dry elbow pasta (macaroni)
3 cups grated cheese (mix of cheddar, jack, pepper jack, and the like), plus more for sprinkling
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 clove garlic
1 dash cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Method
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch square or round baking pan with cooking spray. Add the dry pasta. [You don’t even have to cook the pasta first! Genius!]

In a blender, mix together the cream, ricotta, shredded cheese, chipotle chile, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper until it’s smooth. Pour mixture over dry pasta and stir until sauce is evenly distributed. [What’s that? No cooking a bechamel on the stove first? Hah!]

Stir cheese/cream/spice mix into pasta, sprinkle with a little remaining shredded cheese and bread crumbs.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the foil and cook for another 25 minutes uncovered or until brown and bubbling.

Remove from oven and serve.

I'm in ur arteries, rasin' ur cholesterol.

Lo, comfort food! I mean, someday I’ll have a Real Librarian Job and enough money to pay for maintenance of a German automobile (although I’m thinking the next car I own will be Asian), but in the meantime…at least there’s this mac and cheese.

Ingredients
2 cups dry elbow pasta (macaroni)
3 cups grated cheese (mix of cheddar, jack, pepper jack, and the like), plus more for sprinkling
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I use Embasa brand cans that can be found on the Hispanic food aisle)
1 clove garlic
1 dash cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Method
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch square or round baking pan with cooking spray. Add the dry pasta.

In a blender or with a hand blender, mix together the cream, ricotta, shredded cheese, chipotle chile, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper until it’s smooth. Pour mixture over dry pasta and stir until sauce is evenly distributed.

Stir cheese/cream/spice mix into pasta, sprinkle with a little remaining shredded cheese and bread crumbs.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the foil and cook for another 25 minutes uncovered or until brown and bubbling.

Remove from oven and serve.

Advertisements

Gougeres

You know how every cook has Their Thing? The thing that they make every time there is an occasion? You know, like a dinner party, or a potluck, or…Wednesday? Well, these gougeres are my thing. The recipe was an accidental discovery– after attending a party at which the birthday girl’s mom had made some sort of Cheeto Puffs from scratch (with actual cheese, and not just cheese-themed food product), I decided I had to have them. Luckily for just about everyone, a Google of “cheese puffs” yields the Ina Garten recipes for these cheesy, airy puffs of deliciousness. And the rest is history.

I’m not going to lie: the pate a choux that you make for these is sticky. This stickiness means that it will make all sorts of mess in your food processor, all sorts of craziness in your pastry bag (I have a for-cheaters-only frosting gun that works like magic…easily-cleaned magic), and all sorts of residual stickiness that you’ll find for months and months after your husband tips over one of the to-be-baked sheets of parchment in the fridge. But look how cute they are!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk [whole is probably best, but I have used everything from whole to nonfat with relatively little variation in the final product]
  • 1/4-pound (1 stick) unsalted butter [go a little lighter on the salt if you’re using salted butter]
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg [secret ingredient alert!]
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, plus extra for sprinkling [I’ve substituted Jarlsberg, and the results were just as delicious. You can allegedly use just about any type of cheese, but I worry about things like melting and moisture content– but experiment away!]
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash [dilute with a little more water for less-brown puffs]

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. [I can usually fit about 20 puffs per sheet of parchment, and the original recipe says that the yield should be 40. Last time I made these, however, I ended up with 56. For those playing along at home, more parchment was needed.]

In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg over medium heat, until scalded. [You’ll know it’s scalded when there are small bubbles and steam. Do not boil the milk! It will burn and be awful.] Add the flour all at once and beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Immediately add the eggs, Gruyere, and Parmesan and pulse until the eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick. [I’m willing to bet you could do this by hand, but your arm(s) will be crazy-tired.]

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. [I’ve used a star tip, but beware! The little ridges will brown a little more than the rest of the pastry, so it’s up to you.] Pipe in mounds 1 1/4 inches wide and 3/4-inch high onto the baking sheets. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. [Again, those little tips will brown well before the puffs are done. Press ’em down!] (You can also use 2 spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.) Brush the top of each puff lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch of Gruyere. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown outside but still soft inside.

Et voila! Gougeres are yours! Try not to eat all of them in one sitting…