Monday, April 16, 2007

Cooking: Natto & Mac n Cheese (Alton Brown's Recipe)

Thursday night, Justyn and I had a hankering for natto. That's right... what is known to be the nastiest stuff evar. OK, that's totally a misconception. Natto is good. The only thing to note is that if you don't like the texture of the innards from okra, you probably won't like natto. Yeah it's got a gooey consistency, but taste wise, it's nummy. Our neighbor Cupini had been wanting to try it out, so on Saturday evening he came over for dinner. I gave him a small bowl with rice to sample it and he said it wasn't bad. In fact, he liked it had it not been for the stringy gooeyness.

Since it had been rainy all day on Saturday, we had talked about making comfort foods during lunch. Classically, macaroni and cheese come to mind. I had watched Alton Brown's Good Eats a while back and his recipe seemed easy enough. After lunch, Justyn and I took a walk to our local Safeway to gather the ingrediants needed. Milk, sharp cheddar cheese, onion, mustard powder, paprika, pasta shells and tuna. Justyn didn't just want any old mac n cheese. He wanted tuna in it. That's why I threw that in.

I started out by boiling the pasta until it was al dente. While it was boiling I started in the sauce. You start out with 3 tablespoons each of flour, butter and 1 tablespoon of mustard powder. Cook that out for 5 minutes and then add 3 cups of milk, one finely diced onion, 1 bay leaf, 9 ounches of cheese, and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Let that simmer for 10 minutes until nicely thickened. Then I added the tuna and mixed that around until it was incorporated. That got mixed in with the pasta shells and into a baking dish that went. I topped that with the remainder of the cheese (you'll need 12 oz. total for this recipe). It's not done yet! You still need bread crumb topping. Alton Brown says to use panko bread crumbs, but I already had some garlic and herb Italian crumbs from the Scotch Eggs I had made last weekend. I mixed that with 3 tablespoons of melted butter and crumbled it on top. Then it goes into the oven for 30 minutes with a 5 minute rest. Eventually the smell of melting cheese and butter permeated the room. Mmm.... half more hour and then eating time! I wish I had taken the time out to take pictures of all the steps, but I was feeling lazy so all you get is a picture of the end product. It looks bland, but it's super comforting and tasty!

1 comment:

tigerfish said...

You put Alton Brown to test! I enjoyed his pop science more than his recipe. But good ol' mac n cheese is really comfort food for many.