There are days like today, where comfort is of the essence. A day to stay in my pajamas, organize plans for the week to come, do laundry, clean up, and eat really well. Yesterday was stupid. I wore my rain boots out but didn't tuck my jeans into them. My umbrella was useless, it kept turning inside out with the wind. And despite the unseasonably cold, rainy-snowy-slushy weather, I went out three separate times. Not sensible.
Today is the day after the really rainy, snowy and strange late October day where I overdid it on the errands and ended up exhausted with a sore throat. It's the morning after the night where our neighbors partied too hard (again), accounting for a gross lack of sleep around here. So right around 11 a.m. before our stomachs started growling, I reached for Ruth's recipe box. While I grated, measured and stirred, I imagined her in her 1950's kitchen making this for her family. When did she make this? Was it a weeknight dish? Something tells me this was more of a once in a while, for emergencies dish. Maybe someone was cramming for a test, or had a bad case of the doldrums and needed some comfort in a bowl.
Foods like this are important. They say, "I love you" and "let's just be a quiet family today." No need to go schlepping through the busy city, in search of adventure every day. Today we can just be together and share some creamy mac and cheese before our nap. Well, their nap. At least some people in this household are sensible.
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
I adapted Ruth's recipe by adding about 1/4 cup of soft goat cheese and slightly reducing the amount of cheddar cheese and milk. If you don't have goat cheese, just use 8 ounces of sharp cheddar and 3 cups of milk. I also used orecchiete instead of elbow macaroni because I can't resist their slightly floppy shape. In addition, I replaced the margarine with butter.
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni (or 2 cups orecchiete)
2 tablespoons butter
4 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon mustard (I used coarse grain.)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups milk (I used whole milk.)
3/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/4 small onion, grated (about 2 tablespoons grated onion)
7 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 ounces soft goat cheese
1 slice bread (or 3 tablespoons fine bread crumbs)
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
Cook and drain the pasta and put into a 2 quart casserole dish.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, blend in the flour, mustard, salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk.
Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Add worcestershire sauce, onion, and cheeses. Stir until the cheeses melt.
Pour over the pasta.
Combine the butter and fine bread crumbs (I made my own in the food processor using one slice of wheat bread.) Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over the dish and bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes until browned.