It’s the second week of Mac and Cheese Mania, and even though I caught some South American cold virus from Señor Chompy upon his return from Colombia, I devoted my Sunday afternoon to creating this recipe for you. Sadly, I couldn’t taste anything (sick me = tastebuds fail), but my roommate said “I would vote for you,” and she had seconds, so I’ll take her word for it that this mac & cheese is pretty darn tasty.
This here is Pastene Trivella pasta. I actually thought I was buying elbow macaroni, not some fancy Trivella spirally stuff, but I’m nearsighted. In any case, I highly recommend Pastene for all your dry pasta needs.
Then I got out my trusty old 2% Greek yogurt to make the mac and cheese extra creamy. Next I shredded almost a whole block of Apple Smoked Gruyere. I saved a wedge to nibble on later and because I didn’t want to risk microplaning my fingers yet again.
Now, for the real ammo.
This smoked salmon* sometimes leaves me speechless. My best friend Marnie sent me a glorious 4-pack (!!!) of it for Christmas last year, straight from Alaska (!!!). It is Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye from Jerry’s Meats and Seafoods. This, this is THE best smoked anything I have ever had in my life. The end. I eat it with my hands.
*I should point out that this is hot-smoked salmon, not lox or cold-smoked salmon. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, try smoked mackerel or smoked trout. I bet both of those would be super tasty too.
Simmer the milk and dried pasta in a dutch oven or your choice of deep dish baking pan in the oven. There’s no need to boil the pasta ahead of time or make a roux (victory!). After 30 minutes, mix in cheese, yogurt, spices, green peas, and chunks of smoked salmon. Petite or baby green peas add a hint of sweetness that pairs lovingly with the smoky savoriness of the cheese and salmon. Opposites attract.
Top with panko bread crumbs, then bake uncovered until the crust turns golden and the cheese bubbles. Serve yourself a steaming portion.
This one’s for you, Marnie. I love and miss you dearly. And also because you eat a lot of carbs.
P.S. This reheats beautifully.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grease the inside of a Dutch oven or casserole dish with butter.
- Pour milk over dry pasta in the greased Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. (If you don't have a Dutch oven or covered casserole dish, wrap aluminum foil tightly over a deep baking dish and increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.)
- Melt butter and stir in bread crumbs.
- After 30 minutes, remove the pasta and milk from the oven and give it a good stir. Mix in shredded cheese, yogurt, mustard, nutmeg, chili powder, black pepper, peas, and salmon.
- Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden.