Last week I had a couple of friends over for dinner. I considered semi-fancy, labor-intensive dishes like tempura vegetables with couscous, or chicken pot pie, but ended up making one of the least elegant dishes I know. This recipe is my mom’s, plus some Pioneer Woman-inspired additions (i.e., all the spices). Make this for anyone who isn’t lactose intolerant, and they will love you.
Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
1 lb. elbow macaroni noodles, cooked al dente
16 oz. cottage cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
milk – 1/2” in a 9×13 casserole dish
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch of cayenne
wheat germ (optional topping)
parmesan cheese (optional topping)
sprinkle of paprika (optional topping)
Cook the pasta (1 box), drain. Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour milk (I used soy milk this time) into the baking dish until there is just about 1/2 inch. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, cheeses (except parmesan, if you’re using it, and hold back a little of the cheddar as well – just a small handful), spices, and cooked macaroni. Then spoon this mixture into the casserole dish carefully, so the milk doesn’t splash. Sprinkle the reserved cheddar, the parmesan and/or the wheat germ if you’re using it/them, and some paprika evenly over the top. Slide the dish into the oven and bake until the top is bubbly – check it at 20 minutes, it should be done in 30. Enjoy with a side of broccoli – you’ll want some kind of green to balance out all that dairy!
What I’m reading: How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill
What I’m listening to: 20th Century Masters, The Jam; The Suburbs, Arcade Fire