I happen to be lucky enough to recieve a recipe from "Dinner with Dorothy" from the author herself, Bunny Lady! A Houseful of Rabbits is a special blog to me, it's the first bunny blog I read and made me want to start mine. Over the years I've been lucky enough to become friends with both RG and BL. Recently I went on a tangent about my love for mac&cheese, so BL was kind enough to send me her recipe, and don't worry, she said I could share it with all of you!
First off when I brought home my box of macaroni, I found this recipe on the back disturbing!
Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes
1 lb Barilla elbow macaroni
1 28-oz can petite diced tomatoes
6 TBS butter (BUTTER! YAY!)
½ cup flour
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (or crushed red pepper flakes) (Like I said, did not use, heat wimp)
4 cups half-and-half (Thats 1 quart, heavy cream, butter, very julia!)
1 cup chicken broth
4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese or
1 cup sharp cheddar and 1 cup Pepper Jack cheese
Here is what all that cheese looks like. I said to Hef's dad, thats a lot of cheese, and he said "That whole bowl is full of cheese?!" YUP! YUM!
Set oven rack to middle position and pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
This is a personal pet peeve of mine and I know every recipe starts off, pre-heat to... it but I gotta say at the begining of a recipe is not always the time to turn the oven on. I just think its a waste to have a oven sit at 400 for 45 minutes or so until I am ready for the oven. My oven only take about 10 minutes to heat up to 400 so I put it off until later, I'll tell you when.
Cook macaroni in salted water until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour diced tomatoes with their juices over pasta and stir to coat. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. This smells delicious! It made me think of lobster and drawn butter!
Stir in flour and cayenne and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in half-and-half and broth until smooth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Near the end of this 15 minutes is where I turned my oven on.
Off heat, whisk in cheeses, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper until cheeses melt. Pour sauce over macaroni and stir to combine.
Scrap mixture into 13 x 9 inch baking dish set in rimmed baking sheet and bake until top begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Time, start to serving: 1 hour, plus time to get macaroni water to boil.
Look at that bubbly cheesey tomato action! It was delicious! Of course this is a big pan for Hef's Dad and I so I took half of it and froze it right away. I also think you could add some canned spinach or some wilted spinach into this and it would yummy too! In case you didn't notice we didn't blog for a few days, because I was sick with a cold, this really hit the spot during our little snap of cold weather and sickness. Definetly an A+ recipe, with hints of Julia Child to it, but BL has you making a roux and doesn't even tell you just sneaks it and and before you know it you've done it. I know Mastering the Art of French Cooking has a Sauce Mornay which is a cheese sauce but have never made it, but my guess is BL took her cue from there as it just gave me that feel of Julia, and french cooking. Go make it tonight, its yummy!