Extreme Rotini and Cheese and a Gaw-jis Meatloaf

rotini and cheese

“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.
See that?

rotini and cheese

“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. 

gawjis meatloaf

Now that’s good eatin’.


2 pounds (1 kilo) ground beef
1 egg
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. :)

32 Responses to “Extreme Rotini and Cheese and a Gaw-jis Meatloaf”

  1. yee-haw – that looks better than mine!

    also, “pertnear” is now my new favorite word.

  2. I want some of that right away. I’ll wait. It’ll only take you, what–35? 65? hours or so to get here? I’m good with leftovers, so pack it on ice. Meet you at the airport.

  3. Mmmmm, I want meatloaf and Mac & Cheese now…despite the hot, humid day we have right now.

    The meatloaf is str8 up, no BS, which I like and the Mac…dang, you even have saffron in there…10 euros per bowl? lol

  4. This looks like a fantabulous meal! Even though it is hot as blazes here, I wouldn’t say no to a plate right now!

  5. It is gaw-jis! I love that phonetic pronunciaton…you are a talented phonetic speller! Extreme rotini sounds so cool too!

  6. I had to link over here when you mentioned it on TNS. Now I want mac and cheese even more. Beautiful stuff! (But why do I do this to myself? I have a swimsuit vacation coming up in less than two months, damn it!)

  7. holy moly that i just ruined my macbook with all my slobber

  8. i may have ruined my laptop as well with some drool ;-) looks like an amazing meal!

  9. Nikki – the whole meal looks absolutely gorgeous. I would die for that mac n’ cheese – just let me sit in a corner by myself and not bother anyone. I can’t remember when the last time I had anything that even resembles mac n cheese.

  10. Wow! There’s certainly nothing wrong with serving mac and cheese and meatloaf in the summer and absolutely nothing ugly about that gorgeous meatloaf :)

  11. Michelle, HI! :D Thanks so much for a great recipe! And yeah, pertnear or pertner is pretty much one of the best words ever. lmao

    Elle baby! Since you’re close to Boston it shouldn’t take me more than 15 hours or so. You’ve got room for one more, right? I plan on moving in. lmao

    Peter, thanks! Nope, not 10 euros a bowl…that’s one of the many perks of living here…cheap saffron!

    Thanks, Jenn! And I know, right? The heat doesn’t matter when there’s baked cheese to be had.

    Aw, Cathy! No one’s ever said that I’m a talented phonetic speller before! *blushes* Thank you!

    Rachel, hi! Thanks for stopping by! And I hear ya….this year I’m planning on going with the cleverly disguising (yet still cute!) one piece. lol

    Furious, daaaaayum…sorry about that. I didn’t mean to wreck your Mac!

    Sorry about your laptop, Ashley! lol

    Giz, come on over and I’ll make some for you! No hiding in the corner, either…we’re cracking open a bottle of wine and celebrating if you’re coming over!

    Mark, thank you for loving my meatloaf just as it is. lol

  12. Great looking macaroni and cheese. The meatloaf looks great too. Nothing ugly assed about great food!

  13. oh sweet mercy. i think mac (or rotini, as the case may be) and cheese might be the most photogenic dish of all time. i give yours a perfect 10. the meatloaf is also sensational. i’ve seen (and been forced to eat) many dry loaves o’ meat in my day, but yours looks exceptionally moist and tender. it’s gonna take more than a tissue to take care of this drool…

  14. This is seriously dangerous food Nikki. Since I have a gas grill I can bake this on indirect heat and not heat up the house too…that’s what I’ll do. Where there is a will there is a way:D

  15. I would have to agree that heating up the oven in the summer is worth all of this. Since I’m watching my calories at the moment, I will live vicariously through your evil blog post :)

  16. omg yummmmmm. 3 cheeses?! give me two servings of the mac and cheese, please…especially for the gouda. this plate looks so comforting and delicious, nikki!

  17. Caramba!!!! Qué maravilla… y yo sin probarlo! I’m gonna have to write this down or bookmark the page because, I trust you, this must be glorious :D . Al carnívoro de la casa le va a encantar (léase: mi marido). But I’ll wait for the autum to come. Hey Nikki and the pictures are wonderful :D

  18. oh

  19. tastespotting! nice!

  20. Ya know, I’m the same way. Living in hot and humid Tampa, oh, I mean sunny and gorgeous Tampa, I sacrafice a lot of good ole comfort foods. Nay, I say! I just turn the A/C down reaaalllll lllooowwww.

  21. Nikki!!! You don’t have idea be hungry and look this!! is soooo yummy ans tasty, why always Im hungry when I saw your blog??????besos y cariños, Gloria

  22. That looks so cheesy and good!

  23. This looks delicious! Wish I’d seen Michelle’s mac’n cheese when I made my “killer” meatloaf. Would have achieved some kind of artery clogging nirvana.

  24. Comfort food you eat when you need comfort not when it is the right season. For me it is perfect, luckily we are in the middle of winter…..Can you believe I have never made meatloaf. It is about time, don’t you think!

  25. Oh wow – I just had dinner but now I want a giant plate of meat loaf, mac & cheese and asparagus! YUM!

  26. Judy, you’re right! There is nothing ugly assed about great food!

    Grace, thank you! Dry loaves o meat are gross–I think that’s why a lot of people don’t like it. Who wants to choke down a hocky puck?

    Valli, what a GREAT idea!

    RecipeGirl…I should be watching my cals, too. But eff it. I have no will power when it comes to mac and cheese. lol

    Thank you, Elly, and you’ve got it!

    Núria, sí! Esta comida es tipiquísima de los EEUU, y es una verdadera delicia. :)

    LOL Claudia!

    Michelle, YES! I feel like a cool kid, now. ;)

    So true, Urban Eater…just crank the a/c and it’s all good! lol

    Gracias, Gloria! A mi también me entra el hambre viendo el tuyo! jeje

    Thanks, Kevin!

    Marc, dang right, man. Artery clogging nirvana is the perfect description of this meal! lol

    Nina, omg you have to give it a try! So delicious!

    Come on over CookiePie, I’ll serve you up a plate.

  27. I’m American and I haven’t made a meatloaf in AGES. mmmmmmmm.

  28. Nicely done. The meat loaf does look moist and not like a hard brick. Love mac and cheese anytime of the year. Heck love any food anytime of the year. We both like taking great pics of our food. Best, JJ.

  29. I really like seeing pics of good taken by the chef, I like seeing what the dish will turn out like. My pics are not as perfect as yours but I am trying and hope you will check my latest pic of my Hot and Sour soup at: http://www.grouprecipes.com/57948/hot-and-sour-soup.html

  30. We Are Never Full, ya gotta fix that! lol

    Hi Goldminer! Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the compliments. I look forward to checking out your page. It’s funny, I was *just* thinking about hot and sour soup yesterday! lol

  31. beautiful!!

    everythin looks so yummy. it really makes me want my mum here now to cook for me. she makes an awesome meatloaf..although i’m totally taking down ur recipe because it just looks so moist and delicious!

  32. I never knew what a meatloaf was, only mac and cheese :) But it certainly looks good, I’m gonna try it.

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