Friday, June 3, 2011

the best ever.

it is a dreary friday here in oakland, and a big rainstorm is expected this weekend (in june?!)
we were supposed to go camping with m's school this weekend, 
but the rain is forcing us to change plans.

rainy weather is stay-inside-and-cozy-up weather,
and often that includes eating comfort food.

this, my friends, is the perfect rainy weather meal,
and the best mac n' cheese you'll ever eat.
(i promise)

this recipe hails from our dear friend nicola, 
one of my very favorite people in the world 
(and don't even get me started on her two daughters, 
who are also glorious) 
who now unfortunately lives *way* too far away in england. 
(every time i make this recipe i pretend she's still here and sitting at the table eating with us.)
nicola likes cheese, so feel free to adjust the amount in this recipe. 
what i inevitably end up doing is using the same amount of cheese but using a whole pound of pasta.

  • 1/2 lb. rigatoni or macaroni
  • 1/2-3/4 lb. sharp cheddar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper (or lots more if you are me)
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 3 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 small tomato (optional-i don't add this unless they are in season)
  • boil water for macaroni. preheat oven to 375.
  • grate cheese; crush and mince garlic
  • boil pasta. when finished, drain and set aside
  • add olive oil to large frying pan over medium heat. add garlic; saute for about 1 minute. turn off heat.
  • stir in flour until it isa thick, pasty consistency.
  • add 1/2 cup milk into paste, mix until smooth. add 1/2 cup additional milk; mix until smooth again. add another milk. stir over medium heat. add salt & pepper (important to stir continuously and add milk slowly to prevent lumps.) add remainder of milk and keep stirring until thick.
  • turn off heat. add cheese; stir until melted (reserving some to sprinkle over top)
  • add macaroni. put mixture in casserole or oven-safe pan. slice tomato & place over mixture. sprinkle with cheese. bake in preheated 375 oven for 15 minutes. for 2-3 minutes, cook on broil to ensure a crispy top.
(i've thought about adding panko or bread crumbs to the top, but haven't tried it yet.)

happy eating & happy friday!


  1. that looks and sounds delish.
    pray for john as he just left with 30 middle school kids to yosemite...many, including my boss, who have never camped before...i am hoping the rain will skip over the nevadas on saturday!
    wanna come over!!

  2. my grandma passed down her mac&cheese recipe to me, very similar to this, except we use butter, and like you, I use a whole pound of pasta. I just made it too on one of our many rainy days. It's my favorite gma recipe ever. oh, and we do add bread crumbs, which can dry it out at times. I'm excited to try it with tomatoes!

    and how cool that the school was hosting a camping trip!? Love that.

  3. Oh heavens. Your food pictures are the best. Yum!

  4. can't wait to try this, with extra pepper for sure!

  5. Well!
    I just made some, inspired by this blog. Threw in some fresh thyme and spinach from the garden. Also ran out of milk, so used soy milk.
    I use olive oil instead of butter cos I'm being healthy, what with all the cheese!!!
    And... I grilled three sausages,
    (I must say, the UK has good sausages), sliced them and added them into the mix. Just eaten it, it was delicious.


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