A few years back, I attended a co-worker’s baby shower.
All the guests brought a potluck item (I brought Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes, but that’s another post). My co-worker, Aly brought what she called “Adult Mac and Cheese”. Not because it was rated NC-17, but because it was so richly flavored and deliciously composed that it blew any orangey kid’s mac and cheese out of the water.
Call it Adult, call it Delicious; just call it dinner. Tonight.
Aly’s Adult Mac and Cheese
I’ve adjusted some of the ingredients and methodology;
but the flavor is spot-on and deliciously…adult.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
½ pound short, bite-size pasta such as penne, rotini or elbows
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 container baby portabella mushrooms (or 2 large portobello mushrooms), sliced
1 bag baby spinach
3½ cups cooked shredded chicken (buy pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and shred meat)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
1 tablespoon thyme
4 tbs flour
4 cups milk
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
1.5 cups shredded Italian Blend Cheese (original recipe called for 1.5c Fontina and .5c Parmesan)
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tbs butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir, and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander.
3. In a skillet, melt 2 tbs butter in a skillet. Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, until translucent. Add a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. Add mushrooms, cook until all the liquid has cooked off.