Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gouda on you

Smoked gouda macaroni and cheese with a dill and Parmesan crust.

This is actually the most perfect food.

In other news, I had my first psychiatric patient session today. It turns out people with schizophrenia are deeply, intriguingly, fascinatingly different. I know how stupid that sounds, but I'd never conversed with a psychiatric patient before, and going in, I wondered about my ability to evaluate the patient's pathology with my extraordinarily minimal training. It's easy to detect, believe you me. Most striking of all, though, was the emphasis the physician who led our group placed on the importance of long-term therapeutic relationships and on a shift in societal attitude toward the mentally ill, particularly the criminally mentally ill. I wish all doctors retained the depth of compassion he has even after a clearly long and intense career.

Gouda mac 'n' cheese
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp butter
2 cups smoked Gouda, grated
2 1/4 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
red pepper flakes to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup panko
1 tbsp dried dill
1 pound cooked orecchiete (traditionally used in a situation in which you want as much sauce to cling to your pasta as possible; I learned this from The Geometry of Pasta)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Stir together the cornstarch, salt, peppers, butter, and milk in an ovenproof saucepan or cast-iron pan or pot. Heat over medium-low, stirring constantly, until it boils gently, then remove from the heat and add the Gouda. When the cheese is melted, add the noodles and mix well. Smooth out the top. Mix the Parmesan, panko, and dill in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the noodles. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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