My mother always told me… “never order spaghetti when out on a date.”
She claimed it was too hard to eat, too difficult not to slurp, and some of the sauce will always land on your “shelf”. She might as well of sent me to purgatory! Perhaps that’s why my dates were few and far between. I knew I had found my soul mate when Malcolm (my hero!) served me pasta in bed!
I love pasta!
Pasta and butter.
Pasta and butter and cheese.
Pasta and butter and cheese and bacon.
Pasta and butter and cheese and bacon and shrimp.
Add some garlic, a splash of olive oil, a little white wine, throw in some fresh sourdough bread and I am in heaven. I don’t even need a plate, I will enjoy my meal straight from the pasta pot. It’s best when I don’t have to share it with Malcolm. Forget the soup when I’m sick, I’d rather slurp noodles. Rain or shine, hot or cold, pasta is my nirvana.
I will say, as I’ve matured, so has my pasta pickiness. I don’t eat just any pasta. Nor, do I eat at just any Italian restaurant. I do have some standards when it comes to pasta. The noodles need to be cooked just right, the sauce needs to light and teaming with flavor. The restaurant can’t be a chain, franchise or serve processed pre-packaged portions.
When cooking pasta, proper attention to your pasta pot needs to be given – a built-in strainer is convenient. Correct utensils are needed. Pasta bowls should be purchased, along with over sized spoons. Timing is everything. Under done noodles or overcooked pasta doesn’t cut it. Invest in a pasta timer! An apron is appropriate attire when standing over the watched pot. Pavarotti should be softly playing on Pandora in the background.
And most important, ALL DOGS SHOULD BE BANNED FROM THE KITCHEN. DOG HAIR IS NOT ALLOWED OR TOLERATED ANYWHERE NEAR THE PASTA POT!
Macaroni & Cheese
- 1 pound Macaroni noodles (elbow, shells or ziti)
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1-2 minced jalapeno peppers
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 cup non-fat milk
- 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 12 tbsp. coarse grain mustard
- 3 cups extra-sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- sourdough bread crumbs (seasoned to taste), finely chopped
Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Drain off the water and put noodles back in the pot, set aside.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan, add jalapeno peppers and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Whisk in the milk and continue stirring until the mixture starts to boil. Add the Cheddar Cheese, Parmesan Cheese and mustard. Stir until smooth.
Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni, add bacon crumbles and toss. Place in a casserole dish and garnish with the bread crumbs. Heat in the oven until hot in the center and bread crumbs are toasted, about 15-20 minutes.