Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Cold Nights, Comfort Food




We're dipping down into the 30's at night now, and those chilly nights call for some good, old-fashioned comfort food. This is my mother's Baked Macaroni -- actually, it's my interpretation of it since she never wrote down any recipes. Yes, it's loaded with fat -- a real heart-attack-in-a-bowl --but once in awhile won't hurt, right?






Mom's Baked Macaroni


Preheat oven to 425. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil, and add one pound of Rigatoni -- yeah, that's right, this is stick-to-your-ribs food, not some wimpy Kraft Mac & Cheese! Don't overcook this, it has to be a bit underdone because it continues to cook in the oven.


While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, make a bechamel sauce:


Warm 4 cups of evaporated milk on the stove. Melt 5 tbsp. butter and add 1/2 cup flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the warm milk, whisk constantly to keep it smooth. Keep doing this till it thickens. Then remove from heat and add a pinch of salt.



Stir in a couple of handfuls of grated cheddar cheese. Probably about 1-2 cups. (I told you this wasn't really a recipe!)



Add the sauce to the pasta, and taste for salt and pepper. Put this into an oiled baking dish -- I usually use one of those disposable tins from the supermarket. Sprinkle the top with a few more handfuls of grated cheddar. I have actually eaten it this way, but it's probably better to bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.








This is great with just a green salad, but I also like to pair it with broccoli for a real stick-to-your-ribs meal. Steam the broccoli in your microwave. While it is cooking, warm a few halved cloves of garlic in some extra virgin olive oil. Don't let the garlic get brown, or it will be bitter. Pour this over your broccoli, and sprinkle with a few raisins. Salt to taste. Trust me, it's delicious!


Now, mangia!






25 comments:

  1. Mmmm...sounds wonderful! I like the idea with the olive oil and garlic for the broccoli too, I think I'll try that tonight for dinner:>) Thanks!

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  2. Tutti a tavle a mangia! Translation: Everyone to the table and eat!

    Sounds delicious!! I am a firm believer in that the best dishes come from the heart, not a recipe! But, you're right. Comfort food for cold nights. I might just make this for dinner tonight. Don't ya just love a bechemel?

    Stop over today for a chance at my giveaway!!

    Love,
    Julie

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  3. Looks wonderful! Isn't comfort food great?
    Donna :)

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  4. This looks so yummy! I agree that pasta is comfort food. I make a macaroni and cheese with veggies in it and we love how quick and easy it is and warming. I am a big broccoli fan. We eat it almost every week. I will try it this way although I am very old~fashioned and don't own a microwave.

    ~~ Heidi ~~

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  5. Oh gosh - yum, yum, YUM!
    I will definitely try your version of mac and cheese! Thank you!!!

    xo,
    Kim

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  6. That sound much better than the baked macaroni casserole we made last night. I think I'll try yours next time :-)

    I think your blog is lovely and I linked to you today.

    God bless,
    Sallie

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  7. Mary,
    The picture alone made my stomach growl. Melty cheese and pasta, one of my favorites and the broccoli looks great..hold the raisins on mine please. Just can't do raisins for some reason (wine is another story tho)! I just came from Daisy Cottage where I had flan on the pier in Tampa. Always eat dessert first, unless Mac& Cheese is on the menu. My new motto!
    Janet

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  8. How can you do this to a woman who just ate two stale muffins for breakfast?!?

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  9. It's only 10:30 but that recipe makes me sooo hungry. I just love the broccoli with it. Nice combination and I do love garlic with broccoli. Yum! Stephanie

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  10. UMMMM, that really sounds delicious. I'm fixing our broccoli just like this tonight....it sounds so good.
    hugs, bj

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  11. Oh Mary, my guys would LOVE this! I think I need to get to the market for the ingredients :) Good luck on that room...I know exactly what that task is like!

    Hugs,
    Dena

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  12. Lovely food, Mary.
    I thank you since I am a vegetarian and I like to try something I never tested before.
    Thanks får your comment on my blog. I like yours too. Especially the banner.
    Love Eva Agnes

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  13. From Italian you say that this pasta dish is beautiful. I believe even good. You are right we must also prepare dishes comfortable and good. ciao

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  14. Yum! I've never thought of combining broccoli, garlic and raisins but it sounds delicious!!!

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  15. Oh Mary! That sounds wonderful. I have never made mac and cheese with evaporated milk...I have always used regualr milk....I love the idea of the rigatoni.....

    The broccoli sounds great too. I have made it with the garlic and olive oil, but never added raisins...that sounds great!
    Penny

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  16. that sounds really good. xoxo nita

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  17. Hey I just wanted to pop back and tell you that I made your dish for dinner tonight. One slight change, I added a small can of petite diced tomatoes for my son. DELISH!!

    Love,
    Julie

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  18. Looks quite YUMMY!!! Thanks for sharing...I really am trying all these recipes that everyone posts!! I am trying to get my family out of the "same old, same old"!!
    Blessings,
    Robin

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  19. I love your comfort food, yum!
    Thanks for stopping by my bog Mary.
    It has been almost a 50 degree difference between are night and daytime temps too. So cold. I think I am going to make some homemade mac
    and cheese it is my husbands favorite. Thanks for sharing Pinkie Denise

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  20. Mary, that looks delicious! Thanks for sharing. I love comfort food and this is perfect :)

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  21. oooooooooooo yeah! Now this is my kind of food! I thank you Mary for the recipe, but my hips do not! Off to raid the pantry.....
    Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

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  22. I love homemade noodles and cheese. I do mine like you. Yummy.

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  23. Excellent posting! Comfort food is simply the BEST on a cool night! I'll be trying your recipe in the next few days -- even if the temperatures do rise again here in Dallas! Thanks for the super ideas!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  24. Oh, it is getting cold outside and your recipe looks perfect. My husband loves casseroles and my daughters love macaroni and cheese. I am going to try this recipe this weekend. Thanks for sharing it. Karen

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  25. Oh, that sounds so good. Love the idea of Rigatoni to replace the macaroni and the broccoli side sounds great, must try. Thanks for sharing.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love to hear what you have to say!