It’s the cheesiest!
Macaroni and cheese. Sigh.
Cheese, pasta, heavy cream. What’s not too like? As a young child, I ate Kraft dinner in the blue box maybe once a week – the spirals and the special shapes being the most coveted varieties. I carried this tradition with me through college and beyond. Today, I have converted to the Kraft Deluxe with Aged Cheddar squishy cheese. Those without low-brow tendencies may cast the first stone. For what it’s worth, I have always stated that I am a foodie, not a food snob (Taco Bell Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes are a once-a-month must in my book). But I digress. On to the good stuff.
Sometimes I actually muster enough energy to prepare macaroni and cheese from scratch. Alas, it is usually when my dear husband is out of town. Oddly enough, he doesn’t share my love for the dish. When I do get this desire, my favorite recipe is taken from Patrick O’Connell’s Inn at Little Washington cookbook. This recipe not only introduced me to Aged Gouda (absolute heaven – do search it out if you have never had it) but also to making parmesan tuile baskets which were to contain the gift from the Gods. Yes my friend, the macaroni and cheese is actually served in a crunchy, salty cheese basket. Cheese on top of cheese! Oh, be still my beating heart! And a final touch is shaved truffles over top. Ok, I don’t go that far – I am not a trust-fund baby, after all. Anyway, I am not making this dish NOW, but have in the past and it is my all-time favorite macaroni and cheese recipe. Please check it out for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
I’m talking tuiles here – not the aforementioned baskets (just use more cheese if you want a basket – and shape the hot cheese over the bottom of a drinking glass when cooling). These are indispensable. Use them to dress up your salads, soups, or garnish your mac and cheese.
Approx 1 oz grated parmigiano reggiano = 1 tuile (alright, maybe 1.5). Make sure to use coarsely grated parm. Will not work with powdery parm (or if you’ve used your rasp grater. Trust me on this one).
Silpat or parchment paper (or use a non-stick baking sheet)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper, arrange 3 T parmesan in mounds. Gently tap the mounds to make a relatively flat circle.
Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes
Let sit one minute
Remove from baking sheet using spatula
Cool (this would be the time to shape over a drinking glass if making baskets)