Cracking the Code to Man Food?

There was a new menu item at the Diner last week, Cajun Mac & Cheese. It was a borrowed recipe from the March 2012 edition of Food Network Magazine, and altered substantially to better fit HH’s pallet.

I hoped the sausage and the starch combo would work well, although I knew part of the challenge was that it would be a Dinner-in-a-Bowl meal. I still thought it worth a try. I had four chicken andouille sausages, slicing three and adding them, and just left the last one whole for HH to enjoy a bit more.

So we enjoyed this new beige combo would be a good Man Food offering and…He liked it! Hey HH!

So is the meat and starch combo the secret to Man Food? Is it the beige? Is it the no veggies? Is it the meat and gravy, or a combination of all of the above? Hmm, I will have to try a few other things to see if I’ve actually cracked the code to Man Food.

HH's version
Holly's version

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

• Kosher salt
• 12 ounces wagon-wheel pasta (or shells)
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 6 ounces andouille sausage, diced (or organic chicken andouille)
• 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced (or green onions)
1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
• 1 tablespoon Cajun spice blend
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 cups whole milk
• 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (or just a little shredded)
• Fresh grape tomatoes, sliced

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1 minute less than the label directs. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, combine the olive oil and sausage in a large skillet over high heat and cook, stirring, until the sausage starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and bell pepper and cook until the vegetables are slightly soft, about 3 more minutes. Add the Cajun spice and flour and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue whisking until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 5 more minutes.

Add the pasta, cheese and reserved cooking water to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, tossing to coat the pasta in the sauce and melt the cheese, about 1 minute.

Holly’s Diner styleI added some shredded cheese at the very end, after serving HH’s, so mine was still a little cheesy, then topped with tomatoes for some veggies in that mound of Man Food.

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