Mac n’ Cheese Mini-Series Part II: The Pasta

08May09

macaroni-and-cheese-man1Let’s face it, the pasta you choose stars as the big sexy meaty body that makes up the substance of your macaroni and cheese wet dreams. Choosing the right noodle is essential for setting up your dish for success, as the pasta must lay down, tightly embracing each other while cooking, a perfectly set meal for one, the noodles must sit cozily side by side, nestled in for the long oven ride. Additionally, the noodles need to be suited for your fork or chow shovel of choice, whether stabbed or stacked into place. There is to be no twirling, whirling or clumsy scooping while devouring your hot and steamy cheese bomb. This is a meal of quiet solo pleasure, toying your fork through the hot noodle dish, enjoying the comfort and delight of this cheese dream, using the utensil’s pronged edge to occasionally defend yourself from kitty sniffings and the eventual lick from crusty-tongued felines looking for some cheese loving of their own.

The best noodle shows up to the party naked, hard and dried, ready to be primped, softened and fluffed into layers of luxurious creamy cheesy goodness. There’s just no place for fresh new, virgin pasta, as you’ll never achieve al dente perfection. It’s also imperative to select a noodle product that suitably fits into the chosen dish as suitably described: a single-serving vessel that serves just one, the naughty cheese loving vixen that you are. Once inside your mouth, the creamy soft noodles will swirl in your mouth, pleasuring your taste buds with endless delight. The sensation is triumphantly ended with a long warm slide down the back of your throat, leaving trails of cheese goods – the nutty, the tart, the bold and the zing of various artisan crafted cheeses carried on noodles of joy. So you may wonder, what pasta shape is suitable for serving up the exotic of macaroni and cheese magic?

long-pastaSpaghetti, Fettuccine or Linguini alike: No, no and no. Young lady, you obviously get caught up in quick draw jumping to a noodle of substantial length, while girth is truly far more important. If this is all you have, you have nothing.


shell-pastaSmall Shells: Although not the traditional set, this oceanic inspired noodle is a miniature scoop, holding on to little digs of cheesy sauce. They harmoniously sit side-by-side in your serving dish, and gladly hop onto incoming forks in a plentiful manner offering big welcoming bites scooped into your pie hole.

elbow-macaroniElbow Macaroni: Title and tradition supports this noodle as the one to best represent the noodle family for such an occasion of oven-baked cheese. However, there is something to be said for serving boring and predictable food, so I’d encourage you to try some others from time to time.

pennePenne: This seems to be the noodle of choice at chic restaurants boasting unique, allegedly award-winning recipes in their a la carte menus. This pasta can be too long for those making due with little forks, offering a piddly noodle or two per shoveling. Works in a pinch, especially if you get the ones with ridges – I do hear ladies like them best.


farfalleBow Tie/Farfalle: While this is suitable in the size arena, let’s be honest, it just doesn’t seem to fit into the box right… and there’s no sense forcing it. Instead you find awkward, haphazard bow ends peaking out the topping, resulting in the dreaded dried-out crusty destiny that awaits pasta that has lost his luscious creamy coating.

Next up, in part III, we’ll visit the cheesy choices that make the mightiest macs.


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