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Local Mac 'n' Cheese
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Amazing. It really is. I highly recommend giving this dish a go and exploring local artisan cheeses and dairies in the process. This one is obviously specific to Connecticut, and New Haven's Cityseed market particularly. The Pleasant Cow cheese I used is from Beaver Brook Farm and has become a staple in my fridge since I started going to the market. They describe it as "an aged Jersey cow's milk cheese with a smooth, mild flavor and a creamy texture." I think it has tiny hints of Gruyere, a cheddary smoothness and something that I can't name, but that just makes me happy. It's fantastic on a cheese board or in grilled cheese (oooh, on a sourdough boule from the market) and it makes amazing mac 'n' cheese. I also used Trinity Farms heavy cream, who are the only people we buy milk from now. I love the glass bottles! And Lenny inevitably drinks an entire quart in the first day.

1/2 lb of pasta (I like using pipette, shells or something else that can trap the cheesy goodness)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1-2 cups of heavy cream
White pepper
6 ounces of shredded (or chopped small) Pleasant Cow cheese

1. There's nothing too hard about this. You boil the pasta and set aside.

2. In a pot, melt the two tablespoons of butter at low heat. Add the flour and mix until you get a paste. Yes, we're making bechamel, so be nice and slow when doing the next step, or you'll end up with chunks of flour-butter.

3. Pour a tablespoon or so of cream and either whisk or stir (I only have a metal whisk, which is a big no-no in my new Calphalon cookware, so I just used a small silicone spatula). Once incorporated, add a little more, until you get a consistency you like. I prefer to err on the side of a bit thin, since the cheese is going to thicken the sauce up. Add a few sprinkles of salt and pepper.

4. Add the cheese, a bit at a time, stirring and letting it melt before adding more. This is mostly so that you can gauge how much cheese you actually need. No need to go overboard, since it has a strong flavor.

5. Add the pasta and stir into yummy goey-ness. Too thick? Add a little cream.

6. Serve warm with a side of garlic bread. Seriously.

Feel free to add just about anything--broccoli, a little spinach, sauteed mushrooms, crispy bacon or prosciutto, pan-fried bits of ham, veggie sausage, peas. Oh, and you can double the recipe. Just know that at $16 a pound, this dish is not a potluck or big dinner dish (unless you're just rolling in money), but it makes a wonderful side to any comfort-type meal. I wish I could ship everyone some of this cheese! It's phenomenal and melts beautifully.

Um, no photo because my friend Jesse and I ate it all. ALL.
posted by Rose @ 8:03 AM  
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Name: Starry Rose
Home: New Haven, CT

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