read, eat, cook: The Five Stages of Macaroni and CheeseFebruary 11, 2011
Some people measure their lives in relationships. Or pets. I prefer the ethereal pairing of pasta and cheddar.
1966: Noodles and butter and salt.
1968: Mother’s Macaroni and Tomatoes and Cheese (the secret’s in the green onions; use a whole bunch)
1988: The Velveeta Variation (brief dalliance with a guy who made good use of Velveeta and green peppers with noodles, tomatoes and cheese)
1997: Traditional Mac and Cheese (noodles with a couple of handfuls of cooked pasta and shredded cheese tossed into a butter-flour-milk roux)
2011: Macaroni Pie
I was led to the mecca of Macaroni Pie by Amanda Cohen, the chef/owner of NYC eater Dirty Candy. Esquire magazine fixed us up in a feature called How to Feed a Man Quickly, in the September 2010 edition dedicated to Eat Like a Man. She cadged the recipe from her husband’s southern family. And now I’ve cadged it from her, with a little something-something of my own.
My Own Macaroni Pie
- Two or three handfuls of elbow pasta (that’s macaroni to you), boiled to within an inch of its life
- An egg of butter* melted in a casserole dish placed in the oven, set to 350.
- 1/2 tsp each mustard powder, chili powder, freshly ground black pepper mixed into the melted butter in the casserole.
- Add the cooked pasta to the butter and seasoning with as much shredded cheese as you can fit on your counter, setting aside a bunch for the top.
- 1/2 to 1 cup of milk poured in (or just until you can see the milk through the noodles. Stir lazily once or twice.
- Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for a half hour if you’re starving, longer for a firmer, crispier Pie.
Save some for leftovers. My pal Amanda says her husband makes a huge pile of it at least once a month and they slice it cold from the fridge, scarfing it with hot sauce or “if we’re feeling sophisticated, we reheat it.”
* I thank Susan Schwartz for playing editor to my writer and correcting my mistype above: it’s an egg of butter, of course, and not pasta, as I drunkenly (if only i had that excuse) wrote in the original. The Gazette, I mean, the Duguay regrets the error. Thank you ss.