Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Recipe: Macaroni, Cheese, & Spam

(Occasionally when I am jonesing for one of my favorite foods I am going to post it on the blog with the hopes of getting it out of my system. No such luck.)

Alton Brown, who's show Good Eats, is one of my favorite "celebrity chefs" (though I consider him more of a cook than a chef) I often agree with, can suck my dick when it comes to Macaroni & Cheese. On his Good Eats show devoted to Mac & Cheese and the recipe he quoted as exactly how NOT to make the dish is almost exactly how my Mom taught me to make it. And I love it, and want it now!

I don't know if my Mom even heard of a b├ęchamel sauce, and the only "creamy Mac & Cheese" occurred when either not enough water was drained from the noodle or there wasn't enough yellow powder in the Kraft box to adhere evenly to all the tiny noodles. As much as I like by Blue box of craft, the Mac & Cheese I speak of is from scratch, super fast and super easy.

It only has five ingredients:

32oz Large Elbow Pasta
16 oz Fancy Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (If you are game to great it yourself, go with the Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese)
1 can Spam* (low sodium or low fat is fine, to me it tastes all the same, good)
Garlic Salt
Black Pepper

*as an experiment I've tried diced ham and pork loin, but neither beets Spam

While boiling the pasta, cube up the Spam, wrap in paper towels, and nuke for about 90 seconds to get some of the oil out and make it crispy.

Drain noodles into colander and let sit for a minute. Take a spoon and put a a layer of noodles in casserole then stir in some Spam and some of the garlic salt and pepper, then add some cheese. Repeat until the last layer all cheese then season again.

If you were using a real oven I would say put the casserole uncovered in a 450° preheated oven for five minutes then cover at 350° for 30 minutes (if microwave only: cook on high covered for 30 minutes and 10 minutes uncovered to get crispy).

Yeah, it sounds gross, but everyone who has eaten has loved it. It also sounds better when you call it Macaroni, Cheese, and Spiced Ham.

A fancier, non-meat version is good too, just substitute radiatore for the macaroni, substitute Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar for the sharp (you will have to grate it yourself), and sun-dried tomatoes and sliced black olives for the spam.

One warning about leftovers: reheating cheddar cheese creates an amazing amount of oil. I recommend reheating the amount you want to eat than use whatever is handy to drain off the oil. Make sure you wash your face thoroughly when done.

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