Boyfriend came to visit this weekend, so I finally had a chance to cook for us (his kitchen is non-functioning at the present). It was chilly outside, so we both wanted some hot, gooey, comfort food. I had experimented with homemade macaroni and cheese the night before, but there wasn’t enough sauce for the pound of pasta, and there wasn’t nearly enough cheese in said sauce. Also, there was no meat to speak of. I love ground beef in my pasta and so does Boyfriend so that was an easy choice, the vegetable was not. I wanted peas, he didn’t want anything green whatsoever. I swear he wouldn’t have eaten it if I so much as garnished it with parsley, sigh. So peas are optional in this recipe, but they would totally kick ass.
Mac & Cheese with Beef
1 lb pasta (I used wide ziti but any small, chunky pasta will work)
1 cup frozen peas (or more if you love them)
½ lb ground beef
½ tsp Adobo (a seasoning salt, if you don’t have this, just sub with garlic powder, salt and pepper)
2 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
4 tbs unsalted butter
4 tbs flour
2 cups milk (any kind except skim)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar (or your favorite meltable cheese)
Salt and Pepper to taste (be stingy with this)
Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente. To save a step, throw the peas in the pot 1 minute before the pasta is done and drain all of it together. Put the pasta (and peas) back in the pot and set aside. Don’t add oil.
Cook the beef in a big skillet, drain off the grease half way through cooking. Then add the Adobo, a few grinds of pepper and the Worcestershire Sauce. When fully browned drain off most of the grease, leaving a bit in the pan. Pour the meat into the pot with the pasta and stir well.
In a medium saucepan melt the butter, then add flour while whisking. This is called a roux, a basic sauce thickener, also an arm breaker. Cook this for a minute over medium heat whisking constantly. Pour in the milk slowly while whisking briskly. Keep the heat at medium and stir constantly for about 5 minutes, you will see the sauce start to thicken. You want to cook out the flour taste so small simmer bubbles are good, boiling is not. After the sauce has cooked for 2 minutes after thickening add the cheese a handful at a time, don’t stop stirring. Tired yet? After all the cheese is melted taste your sauce. If it tastes floury just keep on stirring over med for 2 more minutes. Lightly season with salt and pepper, then pour sauce over the pasta/meat mixture.
Stir, serve and revel in your awesomeness.