Such is the case for my 14 year old daughter who is going to band camp from 7am until 7pm every day this week. On the blacktop, in direct sun, with her trumpet, being active all day long. Not looking at her phone. For those of you who are fluent in the dramatics of teenage girls you know this means one thing. Tears. Lots of them.
A wise man (sometimes I give my husband credit) said, "Just have the macaroni ready and waiting and then send her straight to her room."
Macaroni and cheese, otherwise known as penne au gratin, has the ability to heal the inconsolable teenage girl. It's pretty much magic. Easy to eat penne noodles, a smooth cheesy sauce, pretty chunks of fresh ripe summer tomatoes, and a crunchy Parmesan and paprika topping. Comfort food for anytime of year.
Penne Au Gratin
Recipe adapted from Essential Pepin
by Jacques Pépin
6 ounces (2-1/4 cup) penne
1-1/2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups milk
4-1/2 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2" dice (1 cup)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large tomato, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (1-1/4 cups)
1-1/2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Preheat oven to 400F. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the penne, stir well, and cook for about 8 minutes, until tender but still slightly al dente. Drain the penne in a colander. Set aside.
Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan until hot. Add the flour and cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 10 seconds, then add the milk, stirring it in quickly with a whisk so the mixture doesn't scorch. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 seconds. Add the cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper, mix well, and cook over low heat, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth.
Mix the pasta with the cheese sauce and transfer the mixture to a 6-cup gratin dish (I like to use my cast iron skillet). Scatter the tomato on top of the pasta. Combine the Parmesan and paprika in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture on the pasta. Bake for 30 minutes at 400F. Serve immediately.
|Theme: The Mother Of All Sauces!|