Friday, March 30, 2007

RECIPE! Spicy Mac

I DECLARED YESTERDAY after seeing a recipe for Spicy Mac at the Not Eating Out In NY blog that this mac would be made. Truth be told, it was! The kicker was that I had most all of the ingredients I needed already in my very own apartment, save only for cheddar cheese which is not exactly a specialty item. Ten minutes and $5 later, I was ready to go.

I'll assume since the recipe was posted
online its author doesn't much mind us sharing it here, but to be faithful I'll just give you a link to the Spicy Mac to-do list and let you click your way over there yourself. It's not a daunting set of instructions, but the creation of a bechamel sauce base for the future spicy, cheesy sauce is not something I frequently do. Strike that, it's not something I've ever done.

Looks good so far, right?

Reading up on bechamel sauce after the fact, I'm fairly certainly that I screwed it up. I think I would do well to keep the heat lower next time and make sure the flour and butter don't scald during the first step, but this quick method did, nonetheless, manage to make a delicious and spicy sauce for the for the mac n' cheese--the paprika in particular was a nice touch.

I did not give in and add the chorizo as instructed and opted instead for my own vegetarian substitution--thick chunks of plum tomatoes, which I added at the last minute before popping the tray into the oven. I also sprinkled in a handful of fresh-grated Parmesan cheese at this point and topped the whole thing with a few slices of sourdough bread crumbled in the food processor to add a bit of crunch when baking. Long, spiraling whole wheat pasta certainly added a heartier flavor.

Just 350-degrees and 20 minutes away!

I doubt that
anyone should be annoyed with so many alterations to the recipe. After all, mac n' cheese is a rather personal food, so I would expect anyone else to do the same. The spicy sauce, however, does make the dish something more than "everyday" and would be a great party dish since it serves so many.

I'll be attempting this one again in the future. My ultimate goal is to, first, come up with a version that does not use cow milk and
substitutes cheddar for something like sheep's-milk Manchego or a goat cheese (avoiding certain allergies), eventually inventing my way to a vegan version that doesn't taste suspiciously fake. Now, I'm not vegan and, yes, the very idea of creating a decent vegan mac n' cheese does seem like chasing a formula for alchemy, but I do like a challenge. Stay tuned!

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