A new look at cooking and home decorating...with an attempt to add more greens to the plate, more vegetarian options & hopefully lots of new ideas to explore

Thursday, January 10, 2008

French Mac and cheese

I call this French because of the use of shallots, butter and heavy cream as a base. This version differs from my Italian style Mac and cheese which has pasta tossed with mozzarella balls, Italian breadcrumbs and olive oil.

Though this “French Bistro” version uses Gouda, Mascarpone and Romano cheese it is a very mild dish. Ultimately, it tastes very much like a French bistro style dish. I can just envision eating this in a cozy bistro complete with lace tablecloth a chalkboard full of specials and a bottle of Bordeaux. For a complete “French Bistro” effect serve this Gratin of Macaroni with a mixed salad and pots de crème for dessert. By the way, children love this!

1 Pound of pasta (elbow)- cooked according to the box and drained very well
Butter to coat baking dish

½ shallot finely minced (1 lobe), or in English that means ½ shallot = about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons butter
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
32 fl oz (yes, the big container!) of heavy cream
6 oz Gouda cheese (remove red casing and cut into smallish cubes)
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
1/3 cup mascarpone
pinch of sea or kosher salt
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ cup Panko breadcrumbs (or if you want to make your own fresh bread crumbs are fine)
Cayenne pepper to taste (I suggest a large pinch)
½ cup grated Romano cheese

Butter a very large gratin dish or a lasagna dish.

Melt the butter in a medium size non-stick saucepan, over med heat. Add in the shallots and garlic. Cook for Just 2-3 minutes until shallots are translucent- do not burn the garlic! - Add in all of the heavy cream. Turn heat to high to bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Add in the Gouda, Romano, mascarpone Dijon mustard and pinch of salt. Turn heat to med high and stir and simmer until the cheese has melted. To the cheese add the drained pasta and toss. Place the mixture into your buttered dish.

Combine the ingredients for the topping in a small bowl then sprinkle over the top of the pasta- run under the broiler to melt the topping. Serve.

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