Green Spring Salad
Power salads are my favorite right now!
I like wings, but you know what’s even better than the chicken part? The hot sauce and blue cheese. They can go with pretty much anything. Like macaroni. And more cheese.
This pasta was just the right amount of spicy for me, and I would consider myself to have a medium-high spice tolerance (but not crazy high). Some of you with high spice tolerance may wish to add a little bit more – but you can do that at the end.
1/2 pound short pasta
2 ribs celery, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 Tbsp. hot sauce
Heavy pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cups Panko bread crumbs
Additional shredded cheese for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. While it’s boiling, melt the butter in a saucepan. When melted, sprinkle in the flour and stir quickly, until the flour has totally soaked up the butter. If there’s still liquid, add a little more flour (add a half tablespoon at a time). Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. During this time, give the celery a very quick sautee in a teensy bit of oil.
After a couple of minutes, add the milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly. Simmer for a few minutes, until the milk has visibly thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
Next, stir in both of the cheeses, and continue to stir as they melt into the sauce. Add the celery and hot sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Combine the cheese sauce with the [drained] pasta and spoon into either a 9×9 glass dish or several ramekins or small baking dishes. Top with Panko breadcrumbs and a sprinkling of more cheddar cheese.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until the top is browned a little and the cheese on top is melted.
And pair with your favorite microbrew, of course. If you want, you could add in some cooked chicken. I don’t really think it needs it!