To wrap up posting about Courtney’s visit, I wanted to share the recipe we made while she was here, with ingredients primarily purchased at Pike Place Market in Seattle! While the market was manic the Friday we visited, we still managed to get harassed by Pappardelle’s Pasta as we walked by, forced into trying some dark chocolate pasta. Upon discovering that was good, we tested some others and settled on getting some garlic and chive shells to make for dinner. Without much more of a plan, we kept shopping and thinking about what to make. We were planning to swing by Beecher’s cheese for the samples anyways, when it dawned on us to make a mac ‘n cheese from our ingredients! We picked up their flagship cheese, plus some Gruyère to round out the flavors. We had our plan and went about the rest of our day in Seattle.
By the time Sunday rolled around, we hadn’t given too much more thought to how to make a recipe out of what we bought. Will took to the internet and found a recipe on Williams-Sonoma that included some similar ingredients. Using his creative juices, he came up with an absolutely decadent dinner for us to enjoy, while Courtney and I sat back and drank the leftover wine from cooking. We really assisted a lot, obviously. But for real, this was probably the richest thing any of us have eaten in a long time. We all agreed this was restaurant-quality and could have sold in the mid-$20s for a serving. It was so. so. so. good. So if you’re really interested in treating yourself for a date night or are feeling particularly fancy, this recipe is for you! Make sure to get some high-quality cheese and pasta, to take this one to the next level. It’s 100% worth it.
Cooking Notes: Based on our cheese and pasta purchases, Will found a recipe on Williams-Sonoma that he used for inspiration. He halved the recipe to serve us and substituted our purchases (with a little extra cheese for fun) to make this. He added caramelized onions deglazed in white wine to really add some flavor. He also used heavy cream instead of half-and-half and milk for this recipe. Lastly, he used a cast-iron skillet for baking, instead of the recommended Le Creuset pot.
Pike Place Mac ‘n Cheese (adapted from Williams-Sonoma; serves 4)
1/2 lb. garlic and chive shells
1 tbsp olive oil
4 yellow onions
up to 1/2 cup white wine
4 tbsp unsalted butter, separated
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
S&P, to taste
3/4+ cup shredded Gruyère cheese from Beecher’s Homemade Cheese
3/4+ cup shredded Beecher’s Flagship cheddar
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp panko bread crumbs
Basil, chopped and/or ribboned
Begin by slicing your onions into thin slices, appropriate for caramelizing. Melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat in a large cast-iron skillet. Once butter is melted, add onion slices to the pan and stir until covered in butter. Allow the onions to caramelize for the next 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to scrape up the bits that stick to the pan. (For caramelizing tips, read here). Once the onions are done, deglaze your pan by pouring in up to 1/2 cup white wine, allowing it to come to a bubble (adjust amount as needed). Once bubbling, scrape up the foam and stir into onions, adding more wine as needed. Allow to cool in the pan before transferring to a separate bowl. Begin to drink leftover white wine.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally until not quite al dente, approximately 6-7 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl (not with the onions). While pasta is still warm, drizzle with olive oil and stir well.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring well, until the flour is thoroughly incorporated, about 1-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, nutmeg and a smidge of salt, then bring to a boil. Simmer, whisking frequently to smooth out any lumps, for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, add a couple twists of fresh ground pepper, then add 1/2 cup each of the Gruyère and cheddar. Stir until smooth. Add caramelized onions to the sauce, as well as some chopped basil, to your liking. Pour the cheesy sauce onto the pasta and stir well. Transfer to a cast-iron skillet and sprinkle the remain Gruyère and cheddar on top, as well as the parmesan. Sprinkle on the panko breadcrumbs (adding extra, if needed), then bake until the top is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbly, 25-30 minutes. Turn the oven onto broil and broil for 2-3 minutes, watching closely, until breadcrumbs and cheese are crisped. Let sit for 5 minutes, top with fresh basil ribbons, serve and enjoy!