Battling the Polar Vortex with Comfort Foods

Yes, it’s chilly…. It’s also January. Here at the Spoon we solemnly promise never to ask, “Cold enough for ya?” We’re sure you hear it enough.

Besides, we have a way to beat the cold: steaming soups, simmering chilis, and soul-snuggling comfort foods. These thick, creamy, starchy favourites aren’t always good for you… but in moderation they can’t be too bad for you, and on a cold depressing day are totally worth it.

Here is a recipe for the quintessential comfort food. You could dress it up with something green (kale, broccoli, peas) add meat or crumbled tofu, or just enjoy it in all its luscious, silky glory. At the Spoon we make it with gluten-free pasta.

Spoon-Style Mac N Cheese

There are three parts to a classic mac ‘n cheese: a béchamel sauce, the cheese, and the pasta. This recipe serves six comfortably, and it freezes well too. You’ll need:

-4 cups milks
-1/2 cup butter
-1/2 cup flour
-2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
-3 generous cups of cheese (a sharp cheddar is our fav.)
-4 cups dry pasta
-Salt & pepper to taste

Put the water on to boil for the noodles- cover your pot and it’ll go faster. While you wait, create your béchamel by heating the milk in the saucepan til it comes to a simmer. When it does, turn the heat off and let it sit.

In a separate pot, melt the butter over medium heat, adding the flour when it’s melted and whisking consistently until the mixture is golden brown. Don’t stop or it’ll burn! While whisking, add your heated milk slowly, stirring as you go until it’s smooth and creamy.

Stir in the Dijon and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and add the cheese, stirring to blend and melt it all. Remove sauce from heat.

Meanwhile, your water has probably boiled and you can add your noodles. Cook them til they’re done—they’re best al dente, especially if you plan to bake afterwards. Add the cheesy sauce to your pasta, stir it up, and either eat as is, or transfer it to a casserole dish, top with bread crumbs and/or grated parmesan, and bake at 400 degrees until the top is golden.

This is a great basic recipe to jazz up as you wish, impress your family, and win new friends and lovers. Enjoy! And stay warm.