The south has a reputation for taking its food to deep fried and buttery extremes. We crave these comforting and indulgent dishes because they remind us of family, simpler times, and lets face it because they’re downright delish. Things we end up eating, then panicking that we shouldn’t. Try this delicious 1940’s recipe for Baked Macaroni from my grandmother’s collection. You’re free to indulge with a little less guilt since I’ve lightened it up by replacing the cream with low fat milk, and removing a tablespoon of butter.
Grandma Nancy’s Baked Mac N Cheese
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 to 1 cup buttered fresh bread crumbs (2 cups of croutons mashed in a Ziploc bag. melt 1 tbs of butter in microwave and toss into the bag to combine)
Bring salted water to a boil add macaroni. Boil about 10 minutes. Drain. Cover bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with layer of macaroni, a layer of cheese, bits of butter, salt and pepper. Continue layers until all ingredients are used, ending with a cheese layer.
Whisk milk and egg together with cayenne pepper and salt, pour over the top, cover with buttered bread crumbs, and bake in a 350° oven for 25 to 35 minutes, until browned and cooked through.Serves 4 to 6.
Pasta always ends up one of my meals when I’m raiding the cupboards in a last ditch attempt to avoid going to the grocery store. It’s not that I don’t love buying groceries, its just that I try to use up all the food that I already paid a bunch of money for, before I go and spend some more. The great thing for a pasta lover like me is that it doesn’t actually take much to make it taste like a gourmet dish. If you’re fresh out of sausage-feel free to go veg on this one- it still tastes delicious!
Rigatoni with Sausage and Sun-dried Tomatoes
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 pkg of Italian sausages sliced
1/2 jar of sun-dried tomatoes
1 jar of olive tapenade
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 anchovy fillets
Couple handfuls of Parmesan
Handful of chopped Italian parsley
Boil rigatoni in salted water bout 10 min. Save a cup of the pasta water and then drain. Never rinse pasta!
toss it back in the pan and add some of the pasta water from the reserved cup. Set aside. Meanwhile, add a couple glugs of olive oil to a large saucepan. Dice onion and add to the oil. After the onion starts softening add garlic. Stir. Add anchovy and saute. Don’t worry! The anchovy will disappear into the mix, but add great flavor. Add the sausage and cook through. Now you can add your tomatoes, paste, and olives, mix together and let simmer for a few minutes. Toss in pasta, cheese, and if needed some more of the pasta water. Top off with a handful of the chopped parsley.