Friday, February 4, 2011

M&C is for Lovers

Today we have a very special Valentine's Day recipe for you!

Get excited.

You can make this for your significant other, or, if you're single like me you can make it and eat it straight out of the casserole dish while crying into your glass (bottle) of Cabernet wondering why you've been single for so long.

Did I just blog that out loud?

Anyway, this is the first recipe posted that I made up! Inspired by George and Neyleen's improvised wasabi macaroni and cheese, I decided to do something original to honor St. Valentine. Perhaps he'll send me a tall/liberal/educated/loveshismother as a thank you for the delicious dish I created in his honor?


- Kosher salt
- Vegetableoil
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound bow tie pasta {because you get presents on Valentine's Day and presents are tied with bows. And presents with bows covered in cheese are the best.}
- 1 quart whole milk
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter {divided into 6 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons}
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups of cheese {because this is a Valentine's day recipe, I wanted to use all white cheese so that the vegetables and sauce would create a lovely red and white palette. I used 3 cups incredible Gruyere/Cheddar blend from Trader Joe's and 3 cups of Pepper Jack}
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups (5 slices; crusts removed) fresh white bread crumbs


- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

- Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the bowtie and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes  (I would cook for 4-5 minutes if I were you)

- Drain well.

- Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it.

- Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour.

- Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.

- While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.

- Off the heat, add the cheese, diced bell pepper and tomatoes.

- Also add 1 tablespoon salt and pepper.

  - Add the cooked pasta and stir well.

- Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.

- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

- While the m&c is becoming nice and oozy, use heart shaped cookie cutters to make ham hearts.

- When the macaroni and cheese is done, spoon into heart shapes bowls ($1.99 at Michael's Craft Store!) and place ham hearts on top.

- Enjoy!

<3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3   <3 

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