Thursday, February 9, 2006

Herb & Three Cheese Penne - The Ultimate Mac & Cheese

Finally got around to Donna Hay’s Herb & Three Cheese Penne - what can I say besides: awesome, luscious, scrumptious, superb, sublime, extraordinary, because plain delicious just won’t do.

As I was moaning my way through it, I realized that this is not the usual variation of noodles with one of many options for sauces and other delightful ingredients. And don’t get me wrong, I love pasta and come up with different options at least once a week. It’s my staple “I’m too tired to do much” or “can’t decided and have no time” meal. This was mac & cheese – the ultimate comfort food. And I also realized that I’d been craving it for a while.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading an article in Chatelaine Magazine called “The Comfort Zone” about satisfying meals you can find in your local grocery story – something I rarely do – pick up ready-to-eat meals in the grocery store, that is. They had a chart for product, nutritional value, taste and comfort factor. At the top of the page was good old Kraft Dinner or KD, as it is affectionately known in North America and a dish that most of us can remember eating regularly as a kid. For some reason, for the last month or so, I’ve found myself looking at the blue and yellow boxes longingly and rushing by to avoid succumbing to the desire, because after all, I have much more sophisticated tastes now – or do I? Anyway, I won’t bore you with all the factoids, but suffice to say, its nutritional value – 2 g fat (dry mix only) 240 calories – but seriously how can you eat it without milk and a little butter? One serving apparently “has 20% of the daily recommended amount of iron, which is essential for oxygen transport and cell growth”. So if you need justification – there you go. I still have resisted the urge.

Then I was talking to my daughter in Chile and she was cooking up some mac and cheese herself, and not from a box either, I might add. And finally, a few days ago I noticed that Stephen at Stephen Cooks made some mouth-watering looking herby macaroni and cheese too that I know I have to try. But, honestly, mac & cheese was not what I was thinking about when I whipped up Donna’s herb and three cheese pasta. I really was thinking “pasta”. This dish was easy to make and looked so pretty but it wasn’t until I bit into some melty goat cheese that I realized what exactly I was eating – the most heavenly mac & cheese EVER!!!!

If you’ve ever been a traditional mac & cheese fan and now think you’re too grown up - you have to try this.


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Tania said...

I remember reading somewhere that Canadians are the biggest consumers of KD in the world. I will admit to an occasional weakness for it myself -- sometimes you need that distinctive orange hue in your mac and cheese! -- but this herby version sounds wonderful and considerably healthier. Looks easy enough to scale down for one, too.

Ivonne said...

I am absolutely drooling!