SUPER SIMPLE MAC & CHEESE WITH SAGE
Ok, I have a confession to make. Deep breath, here we go…I don’t like “real” macaroni and cheese. Let that sink in. Yes, I – the woman who practically faints with happiness over the truffle-y moliterno at the cheese shop in the video – would much rather have the stuff from the blue box than most homemade macaroni and cheese. I’ve just always loved the creamy texture and punch-y, admittedly fake, cheesy flavor you find in the boxed mac and cheese. This recipe, though, might have converted me.
It’s ridiculously simple: no roux, no baking, no mustard or cayenne. Sage oil lends some earthiness, and, because there’s no béchamel, all of the creaminess comes from the cheese itself, which means an intense burst of cheese flavor. The recipe calls for gruyere, but any good melting cheese will do. And, if you happen to get your hands on some moliterno, do yourself a favor and toss it in. You’ll be in heaven.
1/2 lb. of your favorite pasta (macaroni, penne, farfalle, etc.)
1 c. gruyere cheese, grated*
fresh black pepper
5 or more fresh sage leaves
*Note: Other good cheeses to try with this dish are young Fontina, Comte, young Gouda, Jack Cheese, or any good melting cheese.
Prepare sage oil. Drizzle olive oil into pan and gentle heat over medium flame. Add sage leaves to infuse into the oil. Once you smell the sage and right before they turn brown, it’s ready! Set aside for pasta topping later. Let the oil slightly cool.
Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Add pasta into the sage oil.
Add the cheese and stir.
Sprinkle sea salt and fresh black pepper before serving.