No Carb Left Behind

For someone who loves food (and running!) as much as I do, New York City is a pretty great place to live. Saturday’s temperatures (sunny, breezy, and 70 degrees!) were perfect for a morning jog through Central Park. This week’s training has been pretty intense (track workout Tues, tempo Thurs, long run Sun), so I took it nice and easy and ran for about 2.5 miles. My destination? H&H bagels and Zabar’s for homemade scallion cream cheese!

The weather was perfect for a picnic in Central Park!

I had a fellow foodie to keep me company (and take photos):

Next on the agenda? A tour of the Brooklyn Brewery and some sampling of the brews…I tried the unfiltered Weisse (very wheat-y) and a Summer Ale. The bar tender told me that the unfiltered beers contain more B-vitamins. That makes it a healthy lunch, right? Hehe. I had some trail mix too.

After the brewery, we paid a visit to Trader Joe’s to pick up some essentials – cheese! Our plan for the night: Gourmet mac n’ cheese with cheddar, gruyere, fontina, gorgonzola, and parmesan.

How to chiffonade basil – a pictorial

1) Stack basil leaves with the larger leaves on the bottom.

2) Roll into a cigar shape and hold closed.

3) Finely chop with a chef’s knife.

4) Ta-da! Thanks Chef Brian.

As a side, we tossed some Roma tomatoes and baby portabella mushrooms in a splash of evoo, s & p, and roasted at 475 F for about 15 minutes. Topped with basil – easy, seasonal, and delish!

And then….we made:

The Best Macaroni and Cheese….EVER.

Adapted from Saveur’s Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 16 oz campanelle pasta (“bells” in Italian) or macaroni
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups milk
  • 10 oz. grated sharp white cheddar
  • 8 oz. grated Gruyère
  • 8 oz. grated Fontina
  • 3 oz. Gorgonzola, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until cooked halfway through, about 5 minutes for campanelle pasta. Drain pasta and set aside.
  2. Combine 3 Tbs. butter, 1 cup grated Parmesan, and 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs in a saute pan over medium heat. Stir until butter is melted and breadcrumbs are toasted. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter and add the paprika, shallots, and bay leaf; cook, stirring often, until shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cayenne and stir until mixture thickens, 1 minute. Whisk in milk and cook, continuing to whisk often, until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf and remove pan from heat.
  4. Stir in cheddar, Gruyère, Fontina, and the Gorgonzola (reserve about 1/2 cup of cheese mixture for topping!); continue stirring until smooth. Stir in pasta and season sauce with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to an 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of pasta and then top with bread crumb mixture.
  5. Transfer baking dish to an aluminum foil––lined baking sheet and bake until macaroni and cheese is golden brown and bubbly, 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

There was a lot of cheese involved. A lot. Thank god I’m not lactose intolerant.

Tender noodles, melt-y cheese, crispy crust. Heaven. I will let these photos speak for themselves.

Finished macaroni and cheese topped with basil chiffonade. Roasted tomatoes and mushrooms on the side. Let the food coma commence.

Beer and cheese…and maybe a little icecream…Perhaps not the best way to prepare for a long run, but at least I got my carbs in, eh? I was up bright and early on Sunday (5:20am, yikes) to run 17 miles. Stay tuned for a recap!

Question: What’s your favorite CHEESE?

  • Sveta

    Wow – my two favourite foods (pasta+cheese) combine to make the super-hero of dishes! Yum!

  • Feta makes everything beta!

  • oh yum!! mac and cheese leftovers, please?

    i am loving the new picture size. and manchego cheese. and goat. and various fancy sharp cheeses. can’t pick!

  • I love sharp cheddar and who can say no to feta?

  • whoa..i’ve been..enlarged! hehe.

    that mac & cheese was mindblowing. those photos are making me hungry.

    can’t wait to eat leftovers tomorrow!

  • Looks like a fun weekend 🙂

    I could honestly go on and on about cheese, but off the top of my head, I am enamored of Manchego, Asiago, Gouda, and good old fashioned Parmesan (NOT FROM THE CANISTER). And, uh, yum to your entire weekend.

  • Oh man – I’m not the biggest chese fan, but that looks delicious. mmmm, carbs. If I were to choose my favs, probably fresh mozzarella or soft goat.

    Have you tried the froyo at Zabar’s? Amazing. 🙂

  • I am going to have to try that recipe! It sounds and looks delicious!!!

    I prepped for a long run this past weekend by going to a family reunion – all kinds of carbs, and food in general.

  • I love running to a “destination” for coffee and food, especially on the “easy run” days. Good choice!

  • That mac and cheese looks amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Goats cheese is so good- with beetroot especially!
    Also love a good strong cheddar! (no blue cheese though)
    🙂

  • Good god woman, that is intense! Reminds me of making “posh” mac and cheese last year – there literally must have been a pound of cheese in it!
    Love your apron btw..

    My favourite cheese is probably just a really good, mature english cheddar – showing my roots!

  • hey girlie!
    hehehe…never leave a carb behind! I wish I wasn’t lactose intol. b/c your Mac looks BOMB-delicious! I hope your week is off to a great start!
    xoxo!

  • Ohhh cheese. I pride myself on making the world’s best mac ‘n cheese, but that looks like it could rival mine! 😉

    I didn’t know beer even had ANY B vitamins- you learn something new every day, huh?

  • That macaroni dish looks amazing!! And what a great side – so easy, I must try it sometime.

    I frequently have a bowl of ice cream the night before a long run – calorie dense foods for extra fuel, you know lol.

  • Jesse

    Clothbound cheddar, i.e. the stuff my bro had at my wedding rehearsal dinner! the Mac and Cheese looks AMAzing, you should come visit us in DC and cook it for Jen and me.

  • I love to go to Trader Joe’s for their inexpensive cheese collection, and just made a stop there over the weekend for smoked Gouda, chevre, and romano. The other supermarkets are just so much more pricey when it comes to cheese.

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