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Fierce Foodie: Porngraphically Good Mac N’ Cheese


A blogumn by Roya Hamadani


A few weeks ago I went to my favorite kind of estate sale, the kind of sale where the treasured hoard of a lifetime shut-in is boxed up and marked with masking tape only to be pawed over by the curious and covetous.  This time the former occupant was a woman who had obviously spent most of her waking life watching QVC, and the rest ordering book club selections, the result of which was a cheap crockery collection and a library of about two thousand hard cover, glossy, full-color culinary tomes.  Cooking of the South, cooking of Spain, cooking inspired by Renaissance paintings, she had it all, and now so could we for 2 bucks a book.  What she didn’t have was any sign of cooking utensils, pots or pans.  Her kitchen was a tiny, unused affair, the ancient stove dusty with disuse.

“She never cooked,” said a woman who was her neighbor, “never once in her life.”  This, I thought, was a notable thing.

How many of us can stand up and say, “Yes, I admit it!  I like to eat instant macaroni and cheese while flipping through gourmet magazines!” Or perhaps you munch on cold cereal while reading about stuffed salmon pinwheels or triple chocolate mousse cake with extra dark ganache.  Me personally, I can’t say no to good glossy photos of brined turkey as I enjoy my peanut butter and jelly.  It’s food voyeurism, and it’s okay, you are not alone.

Food voyeurism is what happens when you love good food, but have not the time, the talent, the tools, or frankly the inclination to spend hours making it yourself. Restaurants are pricey, so you do the next best thing.  You eat exotica with your eyes while your mouth enjoys what’s comforting and familiar.  Is this the edible form of marriage?  Wait no, forget I said that.  Instead, enjoy the recipe for truly awesome homemade mac and cheese after jump. Like the perfect mate, it is both lovely to devour and to dream about.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Just in case you weren’t here for Roya’s last blogumn, definitely make the jump, as the recipe itself is once again mouth-watering and funny-bone-tickling]
Pornographically good mac and cheese (adapted from a recipe by Sheila Bridges)

A 1 lb box of rotini or radiatore pasta (or use macaroni if you are a traditionalist)
1 whole stick of unsalted butter (This is not a diet food.  Did I forget to mention that?)
About 4 cups of grated cheese total: you can use cheddar, fontina, havarti, asiago, etc.  I like to use 2 cups havarti and 2 cups asiago.  (Hint: about a 1/2 pound of cheese will give you 2 cups grated)
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 cup bread crumbs – you can make your own by crushing a couple pieces of toast, or bash up some croutons.  Even crackers will do, once beaten into submission.
½ cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano
3 tbsp olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Cook up a box of rotini or radiatore.  I use plain pasta for this recipe although I normally prefer whole grain, because this is all about the cheese, baby.  Drain the pasta and place in a buttered casserole dish.  Sprinkle with cheeses, reserving a half cup of each.

Melt your butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add your flour.  You will make a smooth paste of goldeny goodness.  Slowly add milk and salt with a whisk to prevent lumps.  Pour the sauce over the pasta mixture.  Mix it up.  Inhale the cheesy aromas.  Try not to pass out.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Then in a small bowl, combine the crumbs (however you got them, I don’t need to know) with the parmesan and olive oil and then spread this mixture atop the gooey pasta love.  Bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

Eat with one hand on the spoon and the other hand flipping the pages of the food porn of your choice.


Photo Credit: imipolexg/