baked macaroni & cheese

i present this recipe in homage to dylan.  the may 2010 cover of saveur was part of the inspiration as well as his persistent requests for the dish.  and certainly, this is one to have in the pocket: simple, delicious soul food. 

as a side note:  if its too rich for your preference, i'd say to halve the milk, cheeses, butter and flour.  you will still have enough chessy-ness to cover the noodles and satisfy your inner kid.  don't skip the dill, it really makes the dish.  heck, a cup of broccoli or cauliflower florets wouldn't be bad either.  of course, the meat is optional; shine on the dogs if you want it for the vegetarians.  enjoy!

9-12 oz pasta, try an organic italian strozzapretti or penne

6 Tbl unsalted butter

3/4 cups dried bread crumbs, whole grain or rye, crushed

3/4 cup asiago, parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, finely grated

1/4 cup yellow onion, minced

1/4 cup spelt flour

2 cups raw goat milk (or cow)

4 oz sharp raw cheddar

8 oz havarti

1 Tbl fresh dill

1/2 tsp red pepper

2 organic hot dogs, chopped up into half rounds

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  add pasta to a pot of boiling water, cook just under al dente as you will be baking the noodles more.  rinse pasta under cold water, drain and transfer large bowl.  if using:  mix in the chopped hot dogs with the noodles and set aside.

meanwhile, add half the butter (3 Tbl) to a large pan.  melt at medium heat and add the onion.  allow to saute for a few minutes til the onions get a slightly translucent look.  add the bread crumbs and asiago cheese to the pan.  turn off heat, mix well and transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

wipe out the pan to clean before adding the rest of the butter (3 Tbl).  allow to melt on medium heat before adding the flour.  whisk softly to incorporate and slightly brown the flour.  after a minute or so, add milk, dill and red pepper and continue to whisk every few minutes, keep an eye on the temp so as not to burn the bottom.  in 7-10 minutes the milk will begin to thicken (almost gravy consistency) at this point, whisk in the sharp cheddar and havarti, leaving about 3/4 cup of the cheese aside.  once the cheese has melted in, season with salt and pepper and slowly pour over the noodles.  mix the whole thing together w/ a spatula.

break out your baking pan at this point, 8x8 pyrex works nicely.  pour in the cheesy, (hot dog) noodles and top w/ the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese.  top the cheese w/ the bread crumb mix and you're ready to toss the whole mess in the oven.  bake for 30 minutes, till bubbly and browned.  remove from the oven, and just try to wait 10 minutes for it to cool before snacking down!