Chris and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day together on Sunday by having a lovely picnic/Element tailgate at Cabrillo National Monument. The afternoon’s menu consisted of vintage cheddar cheese (by far my new fav Trader Joe’s cheese), Sopressa salami, crackers and a breathtaking view of San Diego and beyond.
Later that evening I used the left over vintage cheddar cheese (I can’t say how good this was enough times) and Sopressa salami to make Mac & Cheese & Salami. Do I know the way to a man’s heart or what? They can never say no to mac n’ cheese — especially if you add meat to it.
The golden crispy top gets me every time. The creamy cheese and salty salami combo was slammin’! Slammin’? I haven’t used that word since 1997 or so…I should bring it back.
Want a bite?? Open up…
This recipe was much easier this time than it has been in the past. I usually complicate things by using 3-4 different cheeses. This was also my fifth or six time doing it so I guess it should be easier now, right?
Oh, and Chris shredded all the cheese for me. Be sure you hand a man the grater. If you let him watch TV at the same time he won’t even know he’s doing all the work for you.
First step is to make your cheese sauce and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Dump your heart shaped pasta into the sauce.
Top with a sprinkle of bread crumbs and bake until the top is golden and crispy.
1/2 lb elbow macaroni (or heart shaped pasta)
1/2 cup Sopressa salami, diced — I recommend sauteing your salami a little bit before hand so that it can crisp up!
1 1/2 very sharp cheddar, shredded
1 1/2 cups white cheddar (or Gruyere), shredded
2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the macaroni (or heart shaped pasta) according to the directions on the package. Drain well. If they stick together, drizzle some oil into them and toss it around.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan, be careful not to let it boil. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot (you will be adding the pasta to it later on) and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Continue whisking as you slowly add the hot milk. Cook until it becomes thick and all the clumps are smoothed. Stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.Turn off the heat and add the cheeses of your choice and the salami. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a medium sized baking dish or ramekins.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter and mix in the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes if in a baking dish, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. Ramekins only need 10 to 15 minutes.
From the Little Yellow Kitchen,