A few weeks ago, I read about this recipe and knew I had to try it, because I obviously love cheese, but I’m also a pretty serious carb fiend, too. I mean one of the reasons I knew I needed to move to New York was when I discovered most local pizza joints offer some version of what I call the Carb-Lovers’ Pie, which consists of pasta piled atop a pizza crust and topped with cheese. Yum!
But reading through all the steps in Grilled Cheese champion Heidi Gibson’s recipe slightly intimidated me because I don’t have that well-stocked a kitchen (with the exception of the dairy drawer in my fridge). It was also a recipe for 8 and I don’t think of grilled cheeses as being all that great of a leftover dish, especially reheated 7 times over! OK, admittedly, it says an uncooked sandwich can be kept in the freezer up to a month, but this was a trial, thus I started easy.
I simplified the recipe and made my usual version of mac ‘n’ cheese in the pan starting with a very basic roux (butter + flour + milk) and then stirred in a mélange of all the various cheeses I thought might work well in this dish, mostly shredded bits of the leftover cheddars from my last post, including some of that oakwood smoked variety which “baconned” the flavor up a tad.
Working in the city and living 50 miles out, I also don’t have the sort of leisurely schedule where I can make the mac and then refrigerate it for an hour to solidify it before moving on to the grilling, so in my case, I put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes! It worked well enough. I few twirly curls leaked out and sizzled in the skillet, but it mostly stayed together.
This is the “before” shot, when I mushed the barely frozen mac ‘n’ cheese between two slices of whole wheat sourdough. And below is the “after” once it was grilled and plated with your typical set of pickles on the side. I figured I had to have something green on my plate to combat the insanely ridiculous indulgence I was about to sample.
Was it as good as hoped? Well, I’m sure Heidi & Nate’s version with its fancier ingredients and extra time for prep is quite nice, but my pared down one was pretty damn delish. So, if you’re stuck one night with simultaneous cravings for a grilled cheese or mac ‘n’ cheese, why not merge them into one, and try this new-fangled twist which allows you to indulge in two comfort foods at the same time. Really, could there be anything better? Hmm, though maybe next time, I’ll make sure to have some sort of truffley cheese on hand…