A little before Christmas, while perusing my Instagram feed, I came across a post about a Mac & Cheese cookbook and my eyes nearly jumped out of my face like a looney tunes character. If you’re like me, or the other massive percentage of the world, then you love macaroni and cheese too. I had never dreamed that there would be so many recipe variations for this beloved comfort food to be able to fill up a cookbook but I was clearly mistaken. This adorable book may be small but the recipes inside are anything but. They are packed with flavorful ingredients that anyone would enjoy and I knew immediately that I had to have this book. Upon further research I discovered that this little gem was created by the founders of a Mac & Cheese restaurant called Homeroom that is based in California…yes, you read that right, there is truly an entire restaurant that serves hot, gooey, cheesy mac and cheese ALL. DAY. LONG. Unfortunately, it is not in my budget to get on a plane to California so that I can visit their little restaurant BUT it was possible for me to acquire their recipes. So, thanks to my mom, who bought me the cookbook for Christmas, I’ve now added it to my growing collection of cookbooks in my little kitchen.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I finally decided to try one of the recipes out. We chose the Classic Mac (page 25) and opted for the added panko baked topping because we dig that extra crunch. The recipe calls for a half pound of dried elbow pasta, two cups of mac sauce (which is their béchamel recipe at the beginning of the book), a cup and a half of shredded cheddar cheese, and half a cup of grated pecorino romano. The mac sauce the first time around had some complications. For some reason it didn’t thicken up properly and was therefore a bit runny but the overall end result on the pasta was still really delicious. It was cheesy and had a nice little crisp on top from the panko and we were very pleased. My husband even brought the leftovers to work and shared them with some coworkers who all spent their evening in the kingdom of cheese bliss.
Last night, while looking through our pantry for some dinner inspiration, I saw that we had some gigli flowers pasta leftover from another recipe I made last week and inspiration struck. I thought, “this would be awesome for mac and cheese!” So, we set out to whip up another batch, only this time we chose a different recipe from the cookbook: Breakfast Mac (page 37). What intrigued us about this recipe was the simple word “breakfast” and the gorgeous photo of a fried egg on top of mac and cheese. I mean, whichever person at this restaurant had the idea to use a fried egg here is a genius! It’s the best thing since another brilliant person decided to put that egg on top of a burger. SOOOO DELICIOUS! Trust me, if you haven’t tried this combination yet, do it now!
Anyway, aside from the fried egg this recipe called for half a pound of elbow pasta (but I used gigli flowers), half a pound of crispy bacon, two cups of Mac Sauce, two cups grated extra-sharp cheddar, half a cup of panko, butter, four eggs, and black pepper for taste. Since we are only two people, I altered the recipe a bit here and only used two eggs, one each, and instead of cooking it in individual portions I made it in a big pan and divided it afterward. This is supposed to serve four but we easily have three servings left over from last night. Unlike the first attempt at making their béchamel sauce, this time went perfectly. It thickened up exactly as described in the book and once mixed with the cheese and bacon, it was so delicious that I wanted to lick the mixing spoon until it was clean, but I refrained. Haha! The finished product, with that perfectly cooked egg on top with it’s yolk running down onto the cheesy pasta, was perfection. The flavors were all there and it definitely tasted like breakfast. This book is now a house favorite here in the Love & Lemonades Kitchen…I just have to remember to use it sparingly as it’s not so good for my waistline. If you’re a mac and cheese lover like we are, run, don’t walk, to the store and get this book! In no time you’ll be craving that trip to California just like I am.