Gourmet Rig n’ Cheese
Comfort Food. There is nothing like it The beauty of comfort food is it goes beyond the stereotype. Each person has their own definition of what is considered comfort food. Whether it be a warm hearty bowl of chicken noodle, or a delicious grilled cheese with tomato soup. I think we can all agree that comfort food is food for the soul.
I’ve had a heck of a month. I’ve hosted a number of parties, met Texan’s parents for the first time while hosting American Thanksgiving. A baby shower and three food segments later I have WAY too much food in my fridge for 1.5 people (and two begging wiener dogs). I mean, who doesn’t like a smorgasbord of meats and cheeses? And who HATES when they have to throw cheese away because they just can’t possible consume that much cheese before it goes bad? Plus I have a set jaw surgery which means I need to consume what is left in my fridge FAST.
Well, my friends, I had a wonderful idea that will make sure your cheese is not wasted.
One of my favorite comfort foods is gourmet mac n cheese ( I guess without the ‘Mac” since I use large Rigatoni). Maybe I should say Gourmet Rig n’ Cheese. We are talking the deluxe version of mac n cheese that will save your cheese from the dumpster.
This recipe is super easy and it’s perfect for a cold night, a Sunday dinner, and it’s on everyone’s comfort food list. So why not give it a try.
- 1 box rigatoni large
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 sweet onion finely diced
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup broth whatever your preference
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded leftover cheese I used 80% smoked cheddar and 20% goat mozzarella and parmesean
- 1 1/2 cups cooked ham/bacon/panchetta diced - whatever you have leftover or prefer
- 1/2 cups frozen peas
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt plus some to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper plus some to taste
In a large saucepan on medium high heat, add oil, onions and garlic. Cook until soft. Add butter and flour and stir making a paste. While stirring add milk, broth, mustard, nutmeg and cayenne. Reduce heat to medium, stirring often. Once sauce starts to thicken, add shredded cheese, peas and bacon. Stir until desired consistency then set aside.
In a Large pot, boil water. Cook Rigatoni until el dente (slightly more hard than soft). Toss cooked rigatoni into the cheese sauce and mix until well incorporated.
Put oven on boil or highest setting.
Place pasta into oven proof dish ( I use my Dutch Oven) and top with an even coat of bread crumbs. Place in the oven and cook until golden brown.
Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and serve.
Note – You can make this vegetarian by omitting the meat and using vegetable stock.