Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Eat For A Week, Episode 8: Mac & Cheese with Shrimp

I'd like to thank Peregrine over at the Space Adventure forum for the recipe this one's based on. They got the recipe from someone named Narkalant. Just leave out the shrimp, salt & pepper, and you've got the original version.

I've misplaced the receipt for this one, so I don't recall what I spent. I think it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $12-13. I do know that I bought pasta, cheese, milk and shrimp.


large pot (for pasta)
sauce pan (for sauce)
rectangular baking dish (roughly 8"x12" should work)


1 lb cheddar cheese, chopped or shredded (I used 1/2 lb sharp & 1/2 lb medium)
1 lb macaroni noodles
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 lbs shrimp
salt and pepper (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 350°(F).

Add water to large pot and salt well. Put over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until done. (If you're not sure, check the packaging. There are usually instructions on it.)

In the sauce pan over moderate heat, whisk together the butter, flour and milk until smooth. The original recipe says that sifting the flour in will reduce lumps, but I didn't bother. What I would do differently next time is melt the butter, add the flour and mix until smooth and allow to cook (but not brown), then add the milk and mix again. Once combined, add the cheese. Heat slowly, taking care not to scald, burn, or curdle the cheese mix. Once incorporated, taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Add shrimp to the sauce and mix, allowing to warm through.

Add mustard if desired.

Place cooked & drained pasta into the baking dish. Add the cheese sauce and mix. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

All in all it wasn't bad, but there are a few things I'd do differently next time since it was just a little bland for my taste. First, I'd use all sharp cheddar. I'd also reserve a bit of the cheese to sprinkle over the top of the dish before sticking it in the oven. Second, I'd replace the milk (or maybe just half of it if you're concerned about that sort of thing) with sour cream. And finally, I'd use more than 1 tsp of Dijon.

Of course, bacon would also be fantastic in this, I think.

Music for this episode is "violet" by The Hybiscus Journals.

I probably won't get another episode done before the New Year, so happy whatever you celebrate to those who celebrate it/them. When I come back, it's time for adventures with mystery ingredients! Wheee!


Marj Barlow said...

Hey Thom,
You are really good--both as a cook and a TV personality. I enjoyed this episode as much as Emeril Live!

Keep writing and keep cooking.

Make something all vegetable for us who are looking for light cooking, OK?

All the best and Happy Holidays!
Marj Barlow

thorn said...

Thanks, Marj! That means a lot!

Something all veggie? Will do. Not sure when, but it'll happen. (Yeah, I do tend to cook a little more on the hearty side for the most part.)

Thanks again, and Happy Holidays to you too!

- thom

Narkalant said...

Cool blog, just happened to stumble in.

The recipe certainly allows for improvisation, you have thusly inspired me to try shrimp. You are right, it's incredibly good with bacon but quite rich. Not always a bad thing.

I usually end up having to add tons of salt and pepper at the end and now tend to turn the oven to 'broil' to crisp up the top layer.

Re-heats very well in a pan, not so much in the microwave.



thorn said...

Thanks, man! And thanks for the starter recipe (by way of Peregrine)!

Yeah, it doesn't reheat as nicely in the microwave, but if that's all there is - say, at work - then it'll get the job done.

Thanks again!

- thom