Ooey, Gooey Mac & Cheese

Fall is definitely on the horizon. Although I'm squeezing out the last breaths of summer, and although the weather in San Diego will get hotter before it gets cooler, I've started craving cinnamon and apples, casseroles and roasted cauliflower. It can't be helped. Autumn is the best season of the year, especially for cuisine.

On another note, do you know what is really wonderful about Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman? She makes me feel like I may just cook a recipe as well as she's done. I'm pretty sure that rarely happens, but I'm making my way through her cook book nonetheless. (Highly recommend the Balsamic and Beer-Braised Short Ribs and the Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach. The whole book is worth purchasing, but those are my current faves.) She tackled this New York Times macaroni and cheese recipe with all the talent, humor and wit we've come to expect from her. And, it was good.

Okay, I'll be honest. My husband and daughter thought it was great, but it was far too rich for me. Coming from the woman who can down spoonsful of ganache plus apple pie, ice cream and lemon bars in one sitting, this is saying a lot. I know, what did I expect, right? I don't know. In any case, I would certainly make it again and serve it as a side, not a main, dish. In the words of Serge from Beverly Hills Cop, "Iss good. You should try."

Mac & Cheese a la Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 10-12 side dish-sized servings
1 T butter
1 C cottage cheese
2 C whole milk
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 t sea or kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 pound elbow pasta, uncooked

Preheat oven to 375°. Using the 1T butter, grease a 9-inch round casserole or baking dish.

In a blender, purée cottage cheese, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. (If you need to add some of the milk for ease of mixing, do so, but reserve at least one cup for mixing in the next step.)

Reserve 1/4 cup grated cheese for topping.

In a large bowl, combine remaining the grated cheese, milk, and the cottage cheese mixture with the uncooked pasta.

Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

Remove the foil from the dish, stir gently, and sprinkle with the reserved cheese.

Bake uncovered another 30 minutes, until nicely browned. Let cool and serve. 


  1. i've never had a mac n cheese too rich for me -- consider the gauntlet thrown down! I'll try!! Sounds AMAZING.

  2. Really? I think I could say that about chocolate cake, but not cheesy stuff. Let me know what you guys think.




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