I confess right here and right now — I love to eat. The aromas and flavors of meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit, grains, spices, herbs, cakes, pies, bread are as delightful as a walk through a scented flower garden. But not only do I love to eat, I also love to cook. Consequently, food appears in some shape or form in all of my novels and many times in my stories.
Undoubtedly, one telltale sign I’m a foodie is my cookbook collection — hardbacks, paperbacks, and ebooks. I also have bookmarks on a wide variety of internet recipe sites. Another indicator is the near ecstasy that is evident when I venture into a grocery store or a cooking supply store. When I write, a cookbook is always nearby.
Harry Wright is private detective Justinia Wright’s brother. He is also her majordomo, chef, and assistant. With the alacrity of a juggler, Harry turns out fabulous gourmet dishes on a daily basis. Dishes such as Porcini Parmesan, roasted veggie with goat cheese sandwiches, caramelized onion tartlets, ratatolha niça, and Cock-a-Leekie.
At times, though, Harry will take a walk down the comfort food aisle and then we see dishes like NuNus and Hot Dogs and Mac and Cheese. Sometimes Harry leaves the dish simple and sometimes he fancies it up.
Today I thought I’d give you his Mac and Cheese to Die For recipe, which appears in the forthcoming Justinia Wright, PI novel But Jesus Never Wept. He doesn’t call it that. For him it’s simply Mac and Swiss Cheese with Bacon Crumbles.
The recipe below is a composite, he tells me, of several recipes out there on the World Wide Web. Let me know if you think it is to die for. Enjoy!
Mac and Swiss Cheese with Bacon Crumbles
Macaroni – 1 pound (Harry uses elbows)
Butter – 5 tablespoons
Flour – 1/4 cup
Milk – 3 cups (Harry uses whole milk)
Salt – (Harry uses about a 1/2 teaspoon)
Black Pepper – (Harry uses fresh ground and about 3/4 teaspoon)
Mustard – 1/4 teaspoon dry (Harry prefers a good English mustard, such as Coleman’s)
Swiss Cheese – 3/4 pound shredded
Monterey Jack – 3/4 pound shredded
Bacon – 6 slices, cooked crisp and crumbled (Harry’s been known to add a couple more slices)
Parsley – for garnish
Basil – for garnish
Rosemary sprig – for garnish
- Cook pasta according to package directions and your liking. (Harry only cooks his pasta al dente.)
- Warm milk on stove or in microwave.
- Melt butter over medium high heat and whisk in the flour. Continue to whisk to make sure there are no lumps and to cook flour, about 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add the warm milk and whisk the mixture until smooth. Reduce heat and gently simmer for four minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When the sauce has slightly thickened, add salt, pepper, and mustard.
- Add cheese and stir until sauce is smooth.
- When pasta is cooked, drain, and reserve a 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
- Add sauce to pasta. If sauce is too thick, add a little of the water to thin.
- Top with the bacon crumbles and parsley, basil, and rosemary sprig.
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