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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fancy Mac & Cheese (with no-cook sauce!)

Hot enough for you guys out there? Chicago has actually been just beautiful this week, but I know that many of us in the US are sweltering in 90+ degrees weather. Ugh. Now that I have air conditioning, this doesn't affect my cooking like it once did (our Toledo home had no A/C), but slaving over a hot stove in the summer isn't much fun for anyone.

The solution? No-cook pasta sauces! There are many ways to do this (one of my favorites is to just chop up a bunch of fresh tomatoes, add garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil and enjoy!). However, the method I'm going to share here is by far my favorite (and most decadent).

The ingredients (this will serve 4 with leftovers):
One box pasta (penne or some other tubular shape is best)
One wedge brie (or a small round, but the wedge is easier)
Bunch of fresh basil, sliced chiffonade-style (stack leaves, roll up lengthwise, then cut into thin strips)
Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta al dente. While it's cooking, grab a big pasta bowl for the rest of your ingredients. Remove the white rind from the brie and cut it into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in the bowl along with the basil and tomatoes. Just before you drain the pasta, grab about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and reserve. Drain the pasta and dump it into the pasta bowl, on top of the other ingredients. Toss well, adding pasta water as necessary for great texture. Salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

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