Monday, December 17, 2007


Here's what I just realized--I already wrote about this dish, back in March. I wrote out this whole post and went to type out the recipe when I saw that I'd already done so. Oy. So if you want to read the first post, it's here. Feel free to read on for my more current thoughts on the topic of macaroni and cheese. I'm sure this type of thing never happens with the fancy, professional food blogger types.

I don't know if perfection is a goal I should be aiming for giving that sometimes it's a major accomplishment just getting everyone around here to eat. But some things you shouldn't have to settle for. Sometimes you just want to find that one, perfect recipe--the one that will allow you to end your search.

That's how this recipe for macaroni and cheese came into my home. I love a good macaroni and cheese but for years wasn't able to get to what I wanted: cheesy, of course, and nicely chewy without the sludge of a heavy, milky sauce. I tried any number of recipes, most of which were OK though one stands out as being inedible (John Thorne, what were you thinking with the evaporated milk?) but nothing really came close to what I wanted until I found Jack Bishop's recipe in A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen.

This is the simplest and tastiest version of macaroni cheese I know and can be varied endlessly with different cheeses from plain old Tillamook medium cheddar to a liberal amount of crumbled Cougar Gold. The bread crumbs make a slightly crunchy topping and you can control the texture depending on how you cook it. A large shallow baking dish will give you chewy macaroni with lots of topping and a deeper vessel makes for a creamier dish. Either way is great as far as I'm concerned. The recipe is here. I hope it goes over well in your home.


Ellie @ Kitchen Wench said...

Mmm, what a gorgeous photo! I don't think a mac'n'cheese is exactly a simple dish, I've never been able to make one that makes me happy :( Alas, its just too darn hot here to try at the moment, but I'll keep this recipe in mind for the cooler months when cheesy pasta is again destined for the menu :)

Ellie @ Kitchen Wench

ElizO said...

Melisa, I made this last night and it was delicious! But, is it really supposed to be 1-1/2 cups of breadcrumbs, and not 1-1/2 Tablespoons? I did 1-1/2 cups, but only used less than half of the crumbs, and would have been happy with even less. Or do you like a pretty thick layer of breadcrumbs?

Magpie Ima said...

Yay--I'm glad you liked it! It really is 1 1/2 *cups* of bread crumbs. I don't usually use quite that much either, but that's the original recipe. I'm so glad to know that it was a hit. Thanks for letting me know.