What I Made Last Night: Grown-Up Mac and Cheese

2 Feb

Fact of the day about me: macaroni and cheese is pretty much my favorite thing ever. It is my go-to food for when I am either a) sick or b) in a bad mood (both of which I seem to be fairly often, unfortunately), and I am convinced it possesses miraculous and magical healing powers of all sorts. My favorite mac and cheese from a box is Annie’s (this is the one thing the incompetent bf knows how to make — he had to learn for my sick and grumpy days, out of self-preservation, and actually is better at making it than I am), but really any sort of noodle combined with any sort of cheese is good enough for me (example: my best friend greeted me at the airport last week with a veritable vat of pasta with butter and melted cheese and it was quite possibly the most delicious thing I have ever eaten ever).

I didn't make this. I felt this post needed a picture -- you know, just in case you didn't know what mac and cheese looks like. God, this is giving me a major yen for some Velveeta. I think I may have a problem.

Anyway, despite my love affair with mac and cheese, I also feel guilty for eating it sometimes, because it’s unfortunately not the most nutritious thing in the world, so I feel the need to legitimize it by occasionally adding some frozen broccoli or something (as any pseudo-nutrition-conscious post-grad gourmand would do).  Last night, I took this to a new level — asparagus and spinach! — and also made it fancier by using blue cheese, which, as it turns out, was delicious. It was tangy and creamy, and the blue cheese was smooth, and far less overpowering than you’d imagine.

Sorry I have no pictures….we ate it too fast.

But here goes:

boil water and cook 1 lb pasta (I recommend whole wheat penne — better for catching the sauce than a thin noodle like spaghetti)

mince 6 cloves garlic

cook 1 bag frozen asparagus — I cooked it on the George Foreman to give a grilled flavor. You can also broil it, cook it in the toaster oven, whatever. If you want to get fancy and use fresh asparagus, go for it. When cooked, cut into smaller pieces.

drain pasta; add 1 bag baby spinach (rinsed) immediately (spinach will wilt pretty fast just from the heat of the pasta, so you don’t have to cook it)

add asparagus, 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 cup white wine, garlic, 4 0z crumbled blue cheese, and the juice of half a lemon, and salt and pepper to taste

stir everything around until blue cheese and butter are melted and distributed evenly over everything; they should form a sort of creamy sauce

serve with grated cheese (yes, more cheese. don’t judge me) and crushed red pepper (have you noticed yet that I put this on everything? Because I do).

This could also be good prepared beforehand, then baked for a while in a casserole dish with some bread crumbs on top, because, as we all know, the only way to improve upon pasta, cheese and butter is to somehow enter bread into the equation.


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