Sep 12, 2010
A Most Rightious Rotini n' Cheese
Seriously, I should be inducted into the Mac n’ Cheese Hall of Fame for this one. And if there isn’t a Hall of Fame for Mac, they should start one just for me. -- AnglophileLV
1 1/2 C dry rotini – boil according to package directions
1 batch Bechemel sauce
Directions: 2 Tb butter melted, stir with 2 Tb flour until golden, add a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir continuously until mix has thickened.
1 C. extra sharp cheddar, shredded
1 C. Mozerella
A pinch cayenne pepper
2 dashes Worcestershire
Pepper to taste.
½ onion, chopped fairly fine
2 slices bacon
1/2 Tsp Vadouvan (recipe to follow)*
1. Cook the bacon and chopped onions in a pan together (there’s nothing better in the world than bacon and onions in my opinion). Chop up the bacon when it’s crispy, and set the bacon and onions aside.
2. Add to the béchamel sauce the 1 Cup of cheddar and 1 Cup mozzarella, stir until melted and thick. Then add a pinch of cayenne pepper and 2 dashes Worcestershire (or to taste, I like a little more for intense flavor). Add pepper to taste also, but not salt yet because the Vadouvan is quite salty.
3. Add the bacon and onion, stir in. Then add the rotini.
4. Add the Vadouvan carefully – it’s quite strong, so you really have to do it to taste. For me, ½ tsp was about right, otherwise your Mac n’ Cheese may start tasting like Mac n’ Curry (also good, just not what we’re going for).
5. For a topping, I took a handful of unseasoned bread crumbs and ground it together with a little more vadouvan with my mortar and pestle. Then I put it under the broiler (watching it very carefully!) until it was browned.
*Make the Vadouvan well in advance, since it takes over an hour. It lasts a couple months in the fridge, a couple years if frozen, and you can add it to soups and all kinds of things. You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you’re probably the only kid on the street that has this unique spice mix (a blend of French and Indian culinary influences). I got the recipe from the now defunct Gourmet and altered it slightly:
• ½ sweet onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 9 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
• 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
an electric coffee/spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, food processor (or you can just chop it)
• Preheat oven to 350ºF with rack in middle.
• Pulse onions and garlic in a food processor until very coarsely chopped (there may be a few large pieces remaining), transferring to a bowl.
• Heat oil in a deep 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over high heat until it shimmers, then sauté onions and garlic (stir often) until golden and browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes.
• Grind fenugreek seeds in grinder or with mortar and pestle. Add to onion mixture along with remaining ingredients, 1 Tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper and stir until combined.
• Transfer to a parchment-paper-lined large 4-sided sheet pan and spread as thinly and evenly as possible. Bake, stirring occasionally with a skewer to separate onions, until well browned and barely moist, check every 20-30 minutes.