Thursday, February 26, 2009

How to Make Your Man Love You More: Philly Cheese Mac

When I saw this recipe on Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice, I knew that my husband would absolutely love it. This recipe, originally featured in Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book combines two of his favorite meals: pasta and Philly cheese steak. I couldn't go wrong. Have you heard the saying, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"? If that's really the case, then this recipe is a Cupid's arrow bulls-eye straight to the old ticker. So good!

After a week away from my kitchen, my home, and my calendar I still can't seem to get "it" together. I think I mentioned this dilemma yesterday (the day that I was supposed to make this Philly Cheese Mac). As I was sitting at the table trying to get organized this morning, my daughter ran at me, waving a piece of paper over her head. "Mom! Look! An invitation! An invitation! Read it to me." It was indeed an invitation. There are twins in her preschool class and we were invited to celebrate their birthday at Bouncing World (or whatever it's called). When? I looked closer at the invite. What was that?! Today? Yep. Today. The invite had been put into my daughter's book bag the week before, but had fallen to the bottom. Since we were out of town for the week, I hadn't taken the time to go through her papers yet. Oops. I made a quick call to the twin's mom and confirmed that we would be there. There was no way I could turn down my lovely daughter. She'd been looking forward to this party for weeks. The party was from 4-6 and they were serving pizza and cake. No need for Philly Cheese Mac now, right? Wrong. I promised ya'll Philly Cheese Mac and that's what you'll get. Plus, I knew my dear husband would return from work while we were gone and I thought that it'd be nice to have dinner ready for him. He's spent the last two weeks expensing dinners out and living on room service. Poor baby. So, after nearly two weeks away on business, it's time he had a home cooked meal.

Then the knife guy showed up. I'd forgotten that I scheduled a sharpening while at the Home Show last week. I've had my Cutco knives since I sold them as a requirement for a sales and marketing class in my junior year of college. I'll age myself here...that's 11 years. I still love them. I'm not even sure that they've been sharpened before. They still work great. Even 11 years dull. Adrian, the Cutco guy came out and sharpened them completely free of charge and...he didn't even try to sell me a thing. Awesome! He did suggest that I send my knives away next year to be re-bladed (or something like that), which is also FREE. And he did show me a really great new knife that is going on my wish list, but other than that he just made my knives sharp again. I was fully prepared to sit through a presentation at the expense of my sharp knives. Nope. No need. No pressure. This made me almost as happy as my super sharp knives. Yay for Cutco!

Once Adrian departed and while the baby napped, I dove into the preparation of Philly Cheese Mac. I decided to cut the recipe in half a)because most of us wouldn't be around for dinner and b) because I really didn't want leftovers of this mouth-watering stuff hanging around to sabotage my Spring break diet. Usually I know how many calories, how much dietary fiber, and how many grams of fat per serving are in the meals that I prepare. I don't even wanna know with this one! I began by slicing an onion. My newly sharpened chef knife slid through it like butter.

I heated a couple of tablespoons of oil in a skillet and tossed that onion in to caramelize.

While the onion caramelizes, prepare the pasta. Because I cut this recipe in half, I only used 1/2 lb. of pasta.

Aren't these little Cavatappi noodles cute? Just like little piggy tails.

Toss them into a pot of salted boiling water and cook according to the package directions.

Now that the onions are on their way to carmelization and those pasta piggy tails are boiling away, cut up a package of Steak Umms. Or in my case, half of a package of Steak Umm's.

Caramelizing the onions is a must. It brings a delicious savory sweetness to them. These need a little longer. I like mine just a deeper brown. However, I'm running out of time before the party.

So, I go ahead and throw in my Steak Umms and a little broth. Cook and stir until those Steak Umms are no longer pink.

While the Steak Umms brown you can pull yourself away for a moment to drain the cooked pasta and...

start the cheese sauce. Just melt butter in a sauce pan and whisk in the flour.

Once smooth, add your milk and cook and stir until bubbly and slightly thickened. Add some salt and pepper too.

Now for the cheese. Go ahead and stir in the provolone and the Swiss cheese until melted.

Stir the cheese sauce into the onion-Steak Umm's mixture. I stopped here to salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the pasta.

Transfer everything to a casserole dish.

Top with some more cheese. I used more Provolone and a little Monterrey Jack. I also threw on some chopped parsley.

I put mine under the broiler until the cheese was melted and bubbly.

Just look at that!

No. Wait a minute. Look closer. Mmmm. Just...Mmmmm.

Ready to dig in? No, none for me, thanks. Remember? I'm off to eat pizza and birthday cake at Bounce World. Okay, maybe I'll have a taste...or two...or a few bowls. Nope, I put this amazing concoction into the refrigerator...with instructions, of course. Then I headed out the door.

Philly Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese adapted from Rachael Ray

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cavatappi-shaped pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded provolone
1 cup shredded Swiss
1/2 cup broth (chicken, beef, vegetable)
1 pkg Steak Umms slices, roughly chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil.
Once the water boils, cook the cavatappi to al dente according to package directions. Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain it and return it to the pot it was cooked in.
While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the onions to the pan and top them with a lid or piece of aluminum foil for 2-3 minutes, just to get them cooking. Remove the lid or aluminum foil and continue cooking the onions until tender and lightly caramelized, 8-10 minutes.

While the onions are caramelizing, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a medium-size pot. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook the mixture for about 1 minute. Whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture slowly and bring up to a bubble to thicken. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and reserve.
To the skillet with the onions, add the broth and the Steak Umms. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
Add the cheese sauce and the onion-beef mixture to the pot with the drained pasta and toss everything to combine. Transfer to a casserole dish. Top with additional cheese and parsley. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.


Donna-FFW said...

I saw this on Reenis site too, it does look awesome. I have to get to it!! I love your sign, so precious!

Anonymous said...

Oooooh, I can't wait to try this! Maybe I'll serve it in individual gratin dishes & broil it like you did.

I especially love the title! Too cute.

Everyday Is Delicious said...

It looks wonderful! That was a guest post from one of my friends. I'm glad you let me know because now I've discovered your blog! How cool that the knife man comes right to your house! Love it.

Unknown said...

Hi Krista, glad I found your recipe for Philly Mac & Cheese. Turned that Steakumm I had in my freezer to a beautiful delicious meal. My kids and I loved it! I give it 5 stars.

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