Sunday, January 3, 2010

Going Weak In The Knees

There are some dishes that get me excited. There are others that make me hum with happiness. Then there are those that make me swoon and go weak in the knees. This is one of those, dear readers. And I don't say this lightly. Ok, so maybe you have to be a mac n cheese fanatic like myself (but then, aren't most people?!), because this is hardcore, folks. I'm only sorry that I didn't make this dish earlier on in my pregnancy, because it'll be pretty hard to justify eating this after the baby, when I need to be focused on eating right to lose weight. So to make up for lost time, I've already made this dish twice in the last month, and plan to make it as often as possible till I deliver! I was planning to share another dessert recipe with you in this post, but I feel obliged to make you aware of this particular pasta recipe, for which I owe all thanks to Kerstin of Cake, Batter, And Bowl. Girl, I could kiss you! But fear not, I won't, because that would be weird.

For those of you who are currently going through pregnancy, or those of you who remember your preggers days, was there any food that you let yourself indulge in, that you normally wouldn't have?

Sage is such a beautiful herb, isn't it? Those fluffy, soft leaves pack a real punch of unique flavor.

Caramelized Shallots & Crispy Sage Mac & Cheese (original recipe here)
Serves 2-3

Click here for printable recipe

Half a 1 lb box of your favorite small pasta (I don't remember what mine were called!)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup heavy cream
Splash of whole milk (optional)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese (I used smoked gruyere which was super-nummy)
1/2 tsp salt (or less, to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Handful of chopped fresh sage

1. Heat olive oil + 1/2 tbsp of butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and saute till caramelized, for about 15-17 mins. Add garlic and saute for another min. Keep aside.

2. Melt 2.5 tbsp of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for a min until mixture comes together and starts to brown. Pour in the buttermilk and cream. Bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to low, then mix in the cheeses, a small handful at a time, stirring continuously till fully incorporated and smooth. Taste to check how salty it is - add salt if needed. Sprinkle in the ground pepper. If mixture looks too thick, you can add a splash of milk (I usually do). Turn off the heat and keep aside.

4. Cook your pasta per the instructions on the box. Once pasta is cooked, drain completely and add it directly into the saucepan with the cheese sauce. Mix in the caramelized shallots. Stir together well.

5. Melt the remaining tbsp of butter in a small saucepan and add the chopped sage to it. It'll only take a minute to crisp up so keep an eye on it, swirling it around, making sure it doesn't burn (happened to my first batch!). Immediately put it into the mac n cheese mixture, stirring to combine. Serve right away. Tastes just as good the next day too, but it's a risk - because you might find yourself sleepwalking to the fridge in the middle of the night to finish it off!

Verdict: I really wish I had better pics of this dish for you. It deserves a better photographer than me. Ideally, I wish I had it displayed on a pedestal, heavenly light streaming down onto it, and the soundtrack from Chariots of Fire playing in the background! And another thing - is there anything that sounds more delectable than the gloopy-gloop noises you make as you stir pasta into cheese sauce?! Me thinks not. Just try it. Preferably with a wooden spoon. It's where the seduction begins with this dish. And now I think I've said enough about this dish. It took me long enough to make it, even though it's been on my "must try" list for a very long time, but hopefully you won't make that same mistake. I'll be submitting it to Ruth of Once Upon A Feast
for her next Presto Pasta Nights round-up. It's great to have a venue where I can share my predilection for ooey-gooey pasta.

My blogger buddy, Malar of Kitchen Tantra, was kind enough to give me an award last week - thanks for helping me start the new year off with a smile, Malar! I like the pic representing all us foodie females, strutting along, arm-in-arm. Can I be the one in red?! I'd like to share this with some of my favorite blogger gals, who have supported me through this past year:


chow and chatter said...

wow what an awesome twist on mac and cheese love it


nandini.p said...

Sage and caramalised onion.. ur kitchen must have smelt divine!.

Doppelganger said...

Ok, wait! So the mac n' cheese doesn't have to be baked?! I get to save time and still enjoy something this deliciously gooey?! You can bet I'll be trying this recipe out real soon! The addition of buttermilk and gruyere sounds decadent! I can almost hear the richness of the sauce calling out my name! Yummmm!!!

Donna-FFW said...

Hope you are doing well Muneeba, taking it easy and all.

This dish does look absolutely stellar. Kerstin has some great recipes! I want to try it also!

NKP said...

Yum, what a great mac and cheese recipe!
I don't know if I allowed myself anything that I don't usually.. I never do have any sort of restraint!

Anonymous said...

Mmm... ultimate comfort food for sure, so good with sage!

Maria said...

Mmmm, great mac n cheese recipe! Love the flavors of this.

Mari said...

That sounds divine!

Happy New Year chickie!

Joanne said...

I absolutely swooned when I saw this on Cake, Batter, and Bowl. Kerstin is super amazing. Alas (err thankfully) I am not pregnant...but I think I can allow myself to enjoy such a decadent treat as this anyway. I'm so glad you're taking advantage of being pregnant definitely has its perks.

Thanks so much for the award! I am honored.

katherine said...

My mouth is watering! Hands down, mac and cheese is my favorite meal to make. I look forward to making it now with sage.

Heather S-G said...

I didn't know you were pregnant (where have I been?)!!! First of all, congrats on that :). Second...YUM, this sounds uh-maze-ing!!!

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

This mac and cheese is definitely a cut above! hope you are feeling well!

Unknown said...

Oooooh, how delcious. I love sage, and I love pasta, and I love cheese LOL, so obviously I love this recipie :D.
*kisses* HH

Faith said...

Oh yes, I agree mac & cheese is a favorite of everyone! Yours looks phenomenal...especially with the shallot and sage!

Resh said...

Muneeba, you have outdone yourself! this looks fantastic. I think im going to have to make this for lunch one day. What a great idea of incorporating sage!!! yum!

Kerstin said...

Awww, you're making me blush over here... :) I'm SO glad you enjoyed it! Homemade mac&cheese is just so comforting. Happy New Year!

Jennifer said...

I love that pasta and Sage is my numbero uno favorite herb! Congratulations on your pregnancy I am so happy and excited for you!

Mae said...

Aw, I think you can treat yourself to this once or twice after your pregnancy, too... after all, new moms deserve treats, too :). Such a pretty pic of the sage leaves, btw.

Lovely blog, I'm glad I found it!

Anonymous said...

Such an awesome flavour for mac and cheese. Absolutely love it!

Roumopod said...

Muneeeeba, you are pregnant,,,, boy am i glad or what to hear this news...:D:D
very very very happy for you.
I only found time today to check on you.:)
The cooking s going really well as i see.:D and congrats on the awards too.
take care and stay smiley, always, IA.

Roumopod said...

oh and in case you think i am a crazy am Ophiuchus from the early blog days...remember:D

Duchess of Tea said...

My darling we have all been on this emotional ride before the big day. Do trust me once the little bundle of joy arrives, unquestionably your life will drastically change but only for the better and with each passing day you will experience feelings of love and contentment you never knew possible.

I just popped in to check on your health and I am glad to find you are in good form. Keep positive thoughts and do continue cooking and baking, they are the best therapy at this stage.

Love & Hugs

Ruth Daniels said...

That does sound like the perfect mac n cheese. Thanks for shasring with Presto Pasta Nights. I hope you find some time after the baby arrives to share some more with us.

Best of luck and when is the little one due to arrive?