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Bitches in the Kitchen: Better Than Sex Mac n’ Cheese

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Once upon a time, a long long time ago, a young girl named Cori Sue graduated from college and got her first big-girl job and big-girl apartment. In hopes of making her apartment mature, her mother purchased the entire Kitchen Aid/Cuisinart suite of kitchen appliances, utensils, and mixing bowls in a bright Pepto-Bismol pink (10 percent of the proceeds went to Susan G. Komen, of course).

You name it, my kitchen had it—in pink. In fact, there are far more objects—zesters, basters, kitchen timers—in pink than my rudimentary kitchen skills know what to do with.

I love pink. But would I have outfitted my entire kitchen in a pastel blush shade had I the choice? Probably not. Was I going to turn down a $300 KitchenAid mixer because it was pink? Certainly not. Nor was I going to hurt my mother’s feelings and ruin mother–daughter housewares bonding time.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Fast forward a job change, a city change, and three apartment changes, and beau and I are in a new, upgraded apartment and my parents happily hoisted my kitchen wares out of storage and outfitted the new apartment … all while beau was out and about.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Beau returned after a hard day’s work of tying up odds and ends to the pink kitchen (as he now refers to it with disgust) and a look of horror came across his face. He is not pleased.

But, as the purchase of replacement mixing bowls is not top on his priority list, the kitchen remains as is for the foreseeable future. What do I do to remedy the situation? (Other than that, get your mind out of the gutter!) I smile, I bat my eyelashes, I speak sweetly … and I cook.

I cook as well as I can, dangit, to get myself out of my pale-pink dog house. First up, what I refer to as the “Better than Sex Mac n’ Cheese,” because it is just that good. Here’s the recipe, in case any of y’all are in the dog house, too.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Better than Sex Mac n’ Cheese

Adapted from Barefoot Contesa Family Style.

Ingredients:
– Kosher salt
– Vegetable oil
– One pound conchiglie (shell pasta)
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 12 ounces Gruyere, grated
– 10 ounces sharp white cheddar, grated
– 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
– 2 teaspoons nutmeg
– 1 1/4 cup bread crumbs
– 1 quart of milk
– 8 tablespoons butter

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Directions:
– Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
– Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling water and sprinkle with salt. Add the macaroni and cook according to directions, 6-8 minutes. Strain noodles.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

– Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it.
– Melt eight tablespoons of butter in a large pot and add flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

– Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
– Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top, sprinkle with more nutmeg.

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

– Bake for 30-35 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.
– Pair with a salad so you have some semblance of a well-balanced meal. Dig in and enjoy!

Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

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