You open the fridge, rummage through the tupperware and produce drawers, thinking “I know it’s in here somewhere”. It’s going to make the perfect snack, or impromptu hors d’oeuvres. And then you find it, a little gnarled, dried out hunk of cheese that used to be beautiful and now is barely fit for consumption. We’ve all been there and it can be rough. Thankfully, there is a solution: cheesy nubs mac & cheese.
Full credit on this one goes to Anne Saxelby, of Saxelby Cheese, who posted this on her blog last year, and reminded me of it when I visited her store recently, distraught over the fate of a beautiful round of Camembert I had been saving – too long it seems – for a special occasion.
Here’s what you need:
- Cheesy nubs! (any kind of cheese and all parts)
- Milk or cream
- Pasta (macaroni, farfalle, penne, etc: your choice)
- Bread crumbs (these are optional but extremely delicious)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta to desired mushiness and drain.
While the pasta is cooking, cut, grate or mash up your cheese. Anne says you can use all parts of the cheese but I scooped out my over-the-hill Camembert and discarded the rind. I also used bits of a washed rind tomme and a gruyere style cheese.
Butter a ceramic dish (or any kind of pan really; I used a 9 inch cake pan). You can also use other kinds of fat, such as pork, instead of butter.
Spread a layer of pasta in the pan, then top with your cheesy mash, add a splash of milk or cream, sprinkle some salt and pepper, repeat. Over the last layer sprinkle your bread crumbs and strategically place some butter/fat around.
I also added some crispy pork belly that I diced and browned in a sauté pan.
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbling. Serve immediately. Also makes yummy leftovers!
My macaroni turned out nice and pungent, and the pork belly added a little salt and crunch.
This recipe can easily be scaled up or down depending on how much pasta you want to make/cheese you have. I used a whole Camembert, about 1/8 lb each washed rind tomme and gruyere and 1/2 lb of pasta which yielded a not too gooey but nicely cheesy result.