Gourmet Mac & Cheese for $1.99

09Apr09

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A question I always ask myself when I see a dish is, “how did the chef think to use that particular ingredient, and not something else?” Why use vinegar, not lemon juice? Does using tarragon instead of thyme really make a difference? The fact of the matter is, many ingredients can be interchangeable and it is mostly up to the chef as to what flavor combination he prefers. He could easily use vinegar or lemon juice, he just knows he needs a type of acid to cut through the richness he tastes in the dish.

I learned a lot about flavor affinities and how ingredients are coordinated in a dish through The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. It’s a fascinating catalogue/dictionary of commonly used ingredients and other ingredients they are most compatible with according to tradition, modern trends, and/or respected professional opinions within the industry. 

This isn’t directly related to how I came to incorporate butternut squash puree into my bowl of mac & cheese, but it’s all part of my new effort to be more adventurous, more risk-taking when it comes to creating flavor combinations. While the “risk” was probably more in my audacity to add organic butternut squash puree from last season’s CSA share into a bowl of boxed macaroni dressed in re-hydrated orange powder, I still give myself a pat in the back for thinking outside the box.

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Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Boil macaroni using directions in the box.

Use about ¾ the amount of liquid the box asks you to use to make cheese sauce

Add about ¼ cup of Greek yogurt into sauce (you don’t have to use Greek yogurt, but I find it gives it a creamier texture than normal yogurt, and an added richness you don’t get from making the cheese sauce with just water/milk)

Mix in 1 cup of butternut squash puree to cheese sauce

Fold cheese sauce into macaroni

Pairs well with: Charles Shaw Blend, Shiraz, California 2007

 

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4 Responses to “Gourmet Mac & Cheese for $1.99”

  1. 1 Shanna

    genius

  2. 2 smelly

    I thought you were gonna blog about the taco truck!?!?

    deliver unto me!!!

  3. 3 jenny chon

    Amy you are so cute! I find your website fascinating and I can’t wait to try making some of these myself onces I have time~
    Dude, my time in NYC was so short and sad I couldn’t meet up with you. Maybe next time~
    Thanks for keeping me entertained through your posts! tata!

  4. 4 foodyi

    Hi Jenny! next time you’ll have to let me know when you’re in town… I’ll save a meal for you, that’s how much I care!!


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