Thursday, October 25, 2007

Baked Macaroni and Cheese - World Pasta Day

Are you a pasta fan? October 25th is World Pasta Day, a day to celebrate the most globalized and beloved food in the world. Well, to be honest, my kids could have pasta every day, and we actually have it once or twice a week. I fixed this Baked mac & cheese on a Sunday as it is an easy one-dish meal and it takes you out of the kitchen fast, allowing you more quality time with the kids and family on such a lazy day.

The UNFPA is the organization responsible for the activities to promote Pasta in the world, you can learn more here.

If you would like to participate, Verena is hosting this year's event. To join the fun, fix a Pasta dish, take a picture and post it in your blog on Thursday, October 25th, 2007. Link back to her announcement in your post, and eventually to the roundup.

Send an email to worldpastaday(at)gmail(dot)com including:

- Your name
- Blog name and your blogs URL
- Recipe name and the posts URL
- Y
our location and country

Submissions can only be accepted until Thursday, October 25th, 2007.

Ingredients for the Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound elbow pasta, cooked and drained (I used mini penne)
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
4 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, (optional)
1 1/4 cups shredded (5 ounces) yellow cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups shredded (5 ounces) white cheddar cheese (I used mozzarella)
8 ounces (250 g) ham, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
8 ounces (250 g) bacon, diced and cooked to a light brown
2 slices white sandwich bread or 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1) Preheat oven to 375 °F (180 °C) degrees. Cook pasta, and drain; reserve. Meanwhile, in a 5-quart (4.5 liters) heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in flour to coat onion. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps.

2) Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cayenne, if using, and 1 cup each yellow and white cheddar cheese. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3) Toss pasta with cheese mixture; fold in ham. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or individual dishes. Set aside.

3) In a food processor, pulse bread until large crumbs form. Toss together with remaining 1/4 cup each white and yellow cheddar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Top pasta with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes.

Note: You can make mini mac & cheese. This recipe makes enough to fill eight 12-to-16-ounce baking dishes or ramekins. Divide the macaroni and cheese evenly, sprinkle with topping, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.

Recipe from the book: Everyday Food: Great food fast - Martha Stewart


Abby said...

I have just the recipe! I didn't know there was a World Pasta Day. And mac-n-cheese? One of my top fave things in the WORLD. Yours looks great!

Val said...

Hey, how do you find out about these World (insert food name) Days?? We love pasta, and this post has also reminded me of those panko breadcrumbs too. I'll have to try this macaroni and cheese recipe when I get back from Hawaii.

Nunnie's Attic said...

I didn't realize that there was a World Pasta day. Actually, it could be a few times a week in this house. I love baked mac and cheese and make it often. Thanks for sharing your recipe!!


Laurinha said...

Cris, minha filha ADORA mac-d-cheese, vou mostrar a ela esta receita, quem sabe ela se aventura em prepará-la...
Beijinhos, (é a 1ª vez que visito esta cozinha...)

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Beautiful and delicious, and I recognized that brand of pasta! :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Cris, my talented friend, send some my way, please!

TBC said...

Cris, that looks lovely. I had no idea about this event!:-(
I have a pasta recipe that has been languishing in my drafts forever. I would have sent that if I had know earlier 'cos I still have to work on it a little.
I like the first pic:-)

Andrea said...

Yum. We could eat baked mac and cheese at least once a week! And considering how much pasta we eat, one would think that I could have been organized enough to participate in this event, but no....

I like how you took the side shot to show the creamy insides. Delish!

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, I love your recipe for baked mac and cheese. I tried it and it came perfect....