I’m dedicating this recipe to midterms. In my opinion, there are few other organized institutions so well designed to make victims feel like they’ve lost control of their lives. I stumbled through a particularly fun one the other day, and like Stu Pickles, felt the need to stress-cook my way out of sobbing uncontrollably at my professor’s office hours.
I knew that I needed to create something extravagant, something to let The Man know that he can’t kill my vibe. And I find few things more satisfying to make than a velvety smooth cheese-like sauce (seriously, it’ll make you feel like a superhero). So I checked out some recipes online and found this one, which gave me a good start. I threw in some classy veggies, and in the name of extravagant and defiant cheese sauces, I created my masterpiece of love and joy and self-esteem, this “Fancy Mac and Cheese.”
It took quite a while, but by Alma, it let me taste the sweet flavor of achievement again.
Ingredients (This fed 6 hungry people):
1 medium/large white onion, chopped roughly
3 cloves garlic, diced
~1 cup asparagus tips
1/3 cup dry white wine or water
1 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
8 oz Brie cheese (or a similar variety), rind removed
5 oz Gruyere cheese (or a similar variety), shredded
1 lb dry pasta (I like using shells with creamy sauces)
salt and pepper
~1/4 cup breadcrumbs (optional)
shredded cheese of your choosing (optional)
1) Caramelize the onions. This takes a while, but is very much worth it. Put the onions in a skillet with a bit of olive oil over low heat, and stir them while they do their thing. The trick is to hit the (literal) sweet spot between translucent and burnt. Here is a mouth-watering tutorial.
2) Boil the pasta al dente.
3) Preheat the oven to 350 F.
4) Cook the garlic in olive oil over a skillet on medium heat for just a minute or so. Add the asparagus, and cook for another few minutes, until the asparagus starts to get a bit tender. Add the white wine or water, salt and pepper, and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Remove the asparagus from the pan, leaving the wine mixture. Turn the heat to low.
5) Add the flour to the garlic pan. The consistency we’re looking for is similar to hair conditioner or a little bit thinner. If it is too dry, add a little bit of milk at a time until it gets to the correct texture. Once it’s there, add the rest of the milk and stir until combined. Turn the heat to medium and cook while stirring until the mixture begins to thicken.
6) Remove the milk pan from heat and add the cheeses, a loose handful at a time and stirring well after each handful. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7) Put it all together in a bowl, stir well, and scoop it into an appropriate-sized baking pan (I used a 10-inch pie dish). Sprinkle breadcrumbs and the extra shredded cheese on top.
8) Bake for 20 minutes.