Bake Until Bubbly…With Leeks!
I’d never made true baked macaroni and cheese before, until I dove in yesterday with this tempting “Baked Penne With Farmhouse Cheddar and Leeks” recipe from the March issue of Bon Appetit. We can’t get enough of those late winter leeks, especially when Corvallis farms like Sunbow will deliver them to your doorstep at no surcharge. But I lacked the sharp raw-milk cheddar, whole milk and hot sauce the recipe calls for. Rather than run out to the store, Dan challenged me to make the dish with ingredients we already had on hand. So we put that 2 lb. brick of Tillamook Pepper Jack cheese to good use, combined Straus Creamy Whole Milk yogurt with 1 percent milk and added some cayenne pepper to bring out the heat of the cheese. The results were surprisingly spectacular, spicy and sweet from the cooked down leeks. A dollop of Dijon mustard in the cheese custard sauce rounded out the flavors. Dan said it’s among the best mac’-and-cheese dishes he’s had. Maybe I’ll make it with Pepper Jack again. Not exactly the healthiest comfort food, though.
Speaking of baked casseroles, check out the cookbook Bake Until Bubbly, which I reviewed for The Sun here.