Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saffron Scented Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese has long been one of my favourite meals. When I was a kid it was basically all I would eat (the Kraft kind, which is still something I eat all the time). I feel like I made macaroni and cheese before and talked about that but since I can't find any posts about macaroni and cheese under 'pasta' or 'cheese' that must not have happened. Perhaps that was me preplanning THIS post in my brain. It's like the weirdest sort of deja vu...

Anyway... yeah, so I totally adored Kraft macaroni and cheese. I remember once my mom moved to Chicago for a brief period because she was working as a contractor for Kraft and I was like... "Mom, does that mean they'll give us free macaroni and cheese all the time?"

They didn't. How little did I know back then. If only they had, my little life would have been the best.

I remember also my favourite dish as a kid (I partially remember this because I wrote it in one of my diaries which I then later read-- I remember reading my words, more than the actual feeling, though I still have that somewhat too) was my mom's pork chops with macaroni and cheese, green peas, and lemon poppyseed muffins. Big meal for a little kid, but man, I loved eating it. I think the flavours complemented each other well, I guess I had a taste for things before I even knew it.

I can't say this was the best macaroni and cheese I've ever made (I'm sorry!). I had to break down the recipe because only Brian and I were eating it, and even then it made too much-- but the cheese flavour wasn't strong enough. The cream cheese helped provide the creaminess, but really, I had to add sooo much cheddar to even start making flavour happen. I'll have to retool this and figure it out better-- I think if I make macaroni and cheese again (which I will), I might try to find very flavourful cheeses to see if I can make the most flavourfull macaroni and cheese ever. I mean, for this dish I could see why they did a softer flavour-- if you cover up the saffron with cheese flavour, whats the point? But still, this was missing salt, which I added, and just... general flavour. But then again, I like my stuff cheesy.

Anyway, we made it cheesier and saltier and I still tasted the saffron so that much was good, but it was neither of our's favourite dish. We also added broccoli to it, because broccoli is awesome. I also used rotini, because rotini is awesome (also it reminds me of Kraft Spirals, which is also my favourite).

Hah, I'm a childish dork. :)

Saffron Scented Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe from The Adventures of Kitchen Girl

1/2 pound elbow pasta
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 1/2 cups non-fat milk
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
small pinch saffron threads
1 tablespoon hot water
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper (optional)

An hour or so before making the macaroni and cheese, grind the saffron threads into a powder using a mortar and pestle. IN a small bowl combine the ground saffron and the hot water and allow to steep. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain, then return to the pot.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook onion in 1 tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Melt the remaining butter in the skillet and whisk in the flour, cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. whisk in the milk and bring to just a boil lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, and the cream cheese and cook. Add cheddar cheese (remove from heat0, stir until smooth, add the saffron water and onion. Add to pasta and stir until combined. Season.


Matt said...

Saffron and mac & cheese seems like such a funny flavor combo to me, but your pictures make it look really good!

phoenix said...

Wow, that's pretty epic - I mean SAFFRON with Mac and Cheese? I'm really impressed. :D

Still, I'm even more impressed that you managed to taste the saffron over it, since it's such a delicate flavor.

Stephanesia said...

Yeah-- I could barely taste it. I'll admit-- I upped the amount of saffron to combat it. But it wasn't easily detectable.

I missed your comments. :D