“So what in the Sam Hill is Nikki doing making meatloaf and mac and cheese in the summer for?” you ask? Well. Even though the temps are soaring, and the sun is blazing, I braved the house heating oven. For One Reason. Michelle, at Thursday Night Smackdown posted her oh so decadent creamy cheesy rotini. Did you see that stuff?! I may have slobbered all over myself. And cried with envy at that dish. She is such a fabulously funny writer, making *thee* most amazing of foods. I mean, this gal makes $55 sticks of butter for recipes, folks. Michelle is also the poached egg Master (Madame? Mistress?). I bow down to her talents, people. Seriously.
So back to the Cheeeese….the Rotini and Cheese…I followed Michelle’s recipe pretty closely, though I did make a few changes, which I’ll note here:
1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) rotini
1/2 cup butter
a few saffron threads
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 quarts (1 1/2 liters) milk
2 cups grated white Cheddar
1 cup grated Gouda
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Regiano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
plenty of freshly cracked black pepper
a spoonful of sweet Spanish paprika
a generous grate of nutmeg
2 chicken bouillon cubes, crumbled
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
First, preheat your oven to about 350ºF/175ºC and get your pasta water boiling.
While this is getting started, get your sauce going.
Heat butter over medium heat.
Remove from heat and add saffron threads.
Stir this around a little bit so the saffron releases it’s color and aroma.
Add flour and whisk until creamy.Add the bouillon (be sure it’s pretty powdery, and whisk it through)
Add a bit of milk and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Add remaining milk and return to heat.
You’re going to have to whisk this pertnear (that’s a Minnesotan word, guys…it means “almost.”) constantly until it heats through and begins to thicken.
This will happen after about 10 minutes or so.
When the sauce is just beginning to thicken, add the remaining seasonings and stir through.
Now it should really start to thicken up.
Remove from heat and add the cheeses.
Taste a spoonful (or 5) to make sure the seasonings are right.
You might need to taste some more spoonfuls to be sure.
Once you’ve gotten the sauce right, cover and set it aside.
Your noodles should be about done by now, right?
Drain them and add them to the sauce.
Stir it all up.
Pour this into an oven proof dish.
Now, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in the mic quick.
Add the melted butter to the bread crumbs and mix it up really well with a fork, until it has a sandy texture and appearance (yum! let’s eat sand!).
Sprinkle this all over the top of the noodles and cheese.
Bake about 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
“So what about this so called ‘gaw-jis’ meatloaf?” you ask…”And anyway, who the hell has ever seen a beautiful meatloaf?” No one has. It just isn’t possible, because meatloaf is ugly assed food. But I don’t care, because it is really, REALLY good. Meatloaf may not be beautiful on the *outside,* but it sure is gorgeous when you take that first tender bite, seasoned just so, with a kick of Sweet Baby Ray’s slathered over the top for good measure.
Now that’s good eatin’.
2 pounds (1 kilo) ground beef
2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup milk
garlic powder…lots, at least a tablespoon
1/2 envelope of Knorr Onion soup mix
a bunch of cracked black pepper
a good splash of Worcestershire sauce
a good splash of HP Sauce (or Heinz 57, or A1)
Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce to cover the top
Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC.
In a large bowl, mix everything except bbq sauce really well.
You may need to use your hands for this, it’s just easier.
Spread the meat mixture into a loaf pan, or make a free form loaf on a lipped baking sheet or jelly roll pan.
Cover with bbq sauce.
Bake for about an hour, until cooked through.
Drain off excess liquid and allow to rest, covered for about 15 minutes.
Slice and serve.
I decided to serve this with some steamed asparagus, bathed in butter and lightly seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper.
Man. This is living. So THAT, my friends, is why I made rotini and cheese and meatloaf in the summer. I bet you anything you want to do the same right about now. LOL
Proximamente…las recetas en español.