1. Spicy mac and cheese with a crunchy onion topping


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    Click on the top title to open all blocks!  When it came time to celebrate my friend Angela’s birthday I decided to put a twist on one of her favourite dishes – mac and cheese. This baked casserole has a rich and creamy cheese sauce with three cheeses – cheddar, Asiago, and Romano. I think a blend makes the sauce deeper and more complex. The sauce is spiced with smoked paprika and dry mustard, and the topping is made of panko bread crumbs and prepared fried onions. I like to buy mine in the Asian section, but you can also use American-style friend onions.

    This is strictly a special occasion dish to be enjoyed in small portions.

    Boil water to cook a one-pound box of pasta: macaroni, rotini, and penne. Choose a type of pasta that has plenty of places to “catch” the cheese sauce.

    Preheat the oven to 450F/220C degrees

    Sauce:

    1 tablespoon good olive oil

    2 tablespoons butter

    3 tablespoons flour

    1½ cups whole or 2 percent milk, warmed in a microwave

    Heat a medium-sized deep skillet or sauce pan over medium heat.

    Add oil and butter and then add flour and cook, whisking flour and butter together until smooth. Do not brown. Slowly add milk and whisk in. Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the sauce to thicken and then add shredded cheese a handful at a time.

    Whisk into thicken sauce ½ cup white wine such as Riesling or Viognier. The acid in the wine keeps the cheese from getting stringy.

    Grate:

    3 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded

    1 cup Asiago cheese, grated

    1 cup  Romano cheese grated

    1 clove of crushed garlic

    Stir in:

    1 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated

    2 tsp dry mustard

    1 ½ Tbsp. smoky paprika

    Taste and correct for seasoning ( you may need) salt and I add fresh ground pepper

    Bread crumb topping:

    Toss together:

    ½ cup panko crumbs

    1 tsp smoky paprika

    1 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt

    ½ cup fried onions Asian or any type of canned onions

    1-2 tsp melted butter

    Put drained cook macaroni into the buttered casserole

    Toss with cream sauce

    Top with bread crumbs

    Bake 15-20 minutes until the top is brown.

     

     

     

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