Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Six Days of Comfort Food: Day Three

Mac and Cheese.
As my time in Parma nears its end, I often find myself gripped by a sudden, overwhelming panic. These 'episodes' end with me standing in my favourite shop and handing money over the counter in return for a heavy bag. It's cheese. I've been overtaken by cheese panic.

For a year I've grated Parmigiano Reggiano over my pasta with reckless abandon, and only a month ago realized that this kind of satisfying liberality will soon be over, replaced by the calculated, make-100-grams-last-all-month kind of cheese mentality I had before. Compared to the cost of Italian cheese in Canada, they practically give the stuff away here for free. Stinky, soft, hard, round, square, aged, or fresh, cheeses crowd the counters of both speciality shops and regular grocery stores screaming "Buy me! AND me! Why not? You can actually afford it!" I will miss this only slightly less than I miss my friends, and I miss them badly.

So, for the third day of Comfort Food, my friend Catherine suggested Mac and Cheese. This kind of thinking is why I'm friends with her. It was the perfect excuse to buy four kinds of cheese to put in the sauce and some rustic bronze-dye pasta to soak it all up.

I modelled the sauce after that of Janice Beaton (my former boss at JBFC) which they serve in the Mac and Cheese at her restaurant FARM. I used Taleggio, Pecorino Stagionato, Parmigiano Reggiano and Gruyere, did not hold back on the garlic or dijon, and replaced the breadcrumb topping with more cheese. Because apparently I felt I hadn't yet used enough.

It was really cheesy, I was really happy, and I made so darn much of it that it's been comforting me for several days now. Someone's gotta eat it.

Thanks to Kirsten Teel for her lovely shots o' the Mac and Cheese.


  1. My mother in law just asked me over the phone what she should do with the parm I sent home to them for Christmas. I have to admit I gave it a second thought...

  2. I feel famous! I really love the six days of comfort food. Can't you just make it the 365 days of comfort food?