We always crack up when we think of this 1994 New Yorker cartoon by Charles Barsotti. So we thought it would be a good idea to use fusilli for The Mister’s first crack at homemade mac and cheese. A little aged white cheddar, a little asiago, some fried onions and crumbled bacon et voila:
Just look at him. In the kitchen. Trying. This is going to be easy!
We used this recipe but remain confused about the ideal cheese/milk ratio, as all of our hoarded mac and cheese recipes are different.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
3 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup or more shredded asiago
pinch of nutmeg, but wish we’d used 1/2 tsp
500 grams twisty pasta
Heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat. Add butter, when bubbly, add flour and combine. Gently cook, whisking flour and butter together, until smooth and flour has had a chance to cook, about three minutes.
Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk. Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in two cups of shredded cheddar cheese a handful at a time.
Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Taste and add a little salt, if you like. Add cooked pasta to sauce and coat completely by turning over and over in the cheese sauce.
Transfer to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place baking dish under a hot broiler and brown the cheddar cheese on top.
“This vibrant pasta, tossed with beet greens and creamy goat cheese, is an ode to Charles Barsotti’s 1994 New Yorker cartoon of a rigatoni noodle on the phone to a friend, exclaiming, “Fusilli, you crazy bastard!” Tarry Lodge chef Andy Nusser says, ‘Mario [Batali] and I saw the cartoon at the same time. It became the punch line to every joke.'”
Fusilli Alla Crazy Bastard
Recipe by Andy Nusser
1/2 cup walnut halves
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fusilli pasta
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 pound beet greens, rinsed and coarsely chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 pound soft goat cheese, thickly sliced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1.Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the walnuts for 7 minutes, until lightly browned; let cool slightly. Coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl.
2.Raise the oven temperature to 450°. On the rimmed baking sheet, toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until browned in spots.
3.In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, beet greens and crushed red pepper and cook, crushing the tomatoes slightly, until the greens are just wilted, 3 minutes.
4.Drain the fusilli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta, the reserved cooking water and the sliced goat cheese to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, tossing to coat the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, garnish with the chopped toasted walnuts, top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.