Just this past weekend, I was walking through Whole Foods with one of my besties from high school (she was in town for a conference) when Emily said, “I could give up meat in an instant, but I could never give up cheese.” I smiled because I have several friends who are bona fide cheese fiends. It’s quite the accomplishment that I can eat Gruyère, but that is about as exotic as I get… which I realize isn’t terribly exotic at all. Still, when presented with the opportunity to receive a review copy of Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, I could not wait to crack it open.
224 pages of cheesy goodness
Stephanie and Garrett – two incredibly talented individuals – are the masterminds behind the book (Garrett is one of my favorite food writers). They teamed up to present countless hours of research and recipe development in this glorious collection of all things pasta, cheese, and more cheese. As I stated before, I am not a cheese person, but found myself mesmerized by Matt Armendariz’ seductive photos of melty cheese and pasta. After perusing fresh salads, creamy stovetop dishes, hearty mains, and sweet recipes, I settled on pastitsio for my test drive. Hot casserole-style dishes are especially welcome during our Arctic cold snap in the Rockies.
the meat sauce: tomato paste, canned tomatoes, olive oil, white wine, salt, ground lamb, pepper, oregano, bay leaves, rosemary, cinnamon, allspice, garlic, onion
for the pasta and mornay sauce: olive oil, milk, penne, pecorino romano, butter, eggs, salt, flour, pepper
The recipe calls for Kefalotyri, which I could not find, so I used the recommended substitution of Pecorino Romano. That’s another nice thing about this book. Even though I know zip about cheeses, Stephanie and Garrett introduce the reader to new and exciting varieties while offering more common cousins in case you can’t source the original. Other than the cheese, all of the other ingredients are easy enough to find. Oh wait, except bucatini – I couldn’t find that either and opted for penne, a pasta for which I have strong affections.
start the meat sauce: add browned ground lamb to sautéed onions and garlic
add wine, spices, tomato paste
pour in the canned tomatoes
simmer it down for 30 minutes
**Jump for more butter**