Rat's Nest
Bloggage, rants, and occasional notes of despair

Blue Macaroni and Cheese

Blue Macaroni and Cheese

6 oz. mini rigatoni1
3 cups whole milk2
2 Tbsp. flour, generously packed
2 generous Tbsp. unsalted butter
7 oz. (or more) Danish Blue
4 oz. Cabot Hunters (Seriously Sharp Cheddar)
3 tomatoes (1 lb.) seeded and cut in " dice
2 heaping Tbsp. grated parmesan
tsp. paprika
tsp. freshly ground black pepper
tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Coarsely grate the cheddar, cut about 3 oz. white part off the blue cheese (reserve the blue), grate finely, and refrigerate. Boil water for pasta according to package directions. Melt butter in heavy pan, add flour and stir over medium heat until foam subsides, about 1-2 minutes. Do not allow to brown! Add pepper and nutmeg, and whisk milk in gradually. Set heat at low to medium, stir sauce constantly until thickened. Add cheeses and stir until melted. Pour into blender and blend until smooth (addition of the blue cheese will usually curdle the sauce3). Cook pasta about 12-13 minutes. Drain the pasta, rinse it in cold water, allow it to cool, and drain again. Grease 9x9 baking dish, mix sauce and pasta, and place in dish (it may be refrigerated overnight at this point and a superior dish will result). Mix parmesan and paprika and set aside. Slice blue portion of cheese 1/8" thick, break them into half pieces and top the casserole with them. Cover all with diced tomato, salt, pepper, and parmesan/paprika mixture. Bake at 400F for 30-45 minutes (longer if previously refrigerated).

1Barilla is the only manufacturer as of this writing
2Use 3 cups for a drier dish that is not going to be reheated
3Taste for salt at this point; add 1/2 tsp. if needed

John "Akatsukami" Braue Tuesday, July 16, 2002