I have a confession,
It’s something only a few people that know me in real life know;
I hardly know anything about pop-culture (well, I do like pre-2006 when I used to watch TMF and theHits… now, I consider it an achievement if I know Rhianna’s latest song).
I don’t do it, I don’t know it, I can’t understand it.
You know my Harry Styles / Taylor Swift reference in my deep-dish cookie post? Yeah that one. It’s literally the only celebrity news I know of (and I’m not even sure how I found out about it…)
Because of my complete and utter failure at knowing celebrity couples, rappers, names of songs, the names of the 1D crew (honestly, I don’t even want to know…), remembering actors names or any kind of meme reference to pop culture, any time I manage to use one in any situation I get a ‘ding’ from my friend Bea (a.k.a a point, but saying ‘ding!’ on the rare occasion that it happens is WAY more fun).
Do you know how many I’ve had since we started this a few months ago?
Mhmm, 3 points.
That is it.
1 for the whole Harry Styles thing I mentioned above, and 2 for understanding this.
If you think I’m exaggerating this, you’re in for a hilarious treat (I genuinely laugh SO MUCH whenever I see it probably because I created part of it, so I’m sorry if you don’t find it funny at all)
I’m not even making this up, when Bea was talking about Ryan Gosling, I actually said
“isn’t a gosling a baby swan or something?”
(p.s. I googled it later, its a baby goose)
and it led to a photoshop-off:
(Well, Bea used Paint… guess which one is hers AHAHAHA) CRYING.
So, to further this whole thing, Bea challenged me to a pop culture quiz.
I did better than I expected! (p.s that’s a full 5 minutes of 3 British accents, you’re about to experience…):
Not too bad right? not until you see how many more I actually failed at:
SO. I think we all learned a little more about me today, didn’t we?
yeah, that was nice, it’s like we’ve bonded more now.
OKAY, to the mac and cheese guys!
.gif-ception! (I think I should get a ‘ding’ for that reference…)
wow, so sorry if you just came here for a recipe for cheese-covered carbs and got caught up in an unwanted amount of failure and ducks. I promise, I’m talking about the mac and the cheese from now on.
Well, it isn’t strictly mac and cheese because we didn’t have macaroni… so I used fusilli and penne instead. But that’s just a technicality right? You’ll forgive me once you know that I went and put FREAKIN TORTELLINI IN IT TOO. Uh, yeah.
I used spinach and ricotta, but it would be bonkers with some kind of pumpkin-filled ravioli, or even…. four cheese ravioli…(? is that pushing it..? Do the cheese police come for you if you have pentuple cheese recipes?)
Regardless of that, I’ve found two other ingredients which will make the cheese sauce of you DREAMS. Ready?
Cream cheese and buttermilk. Tangy dairy, in other words. They just makes it 1000% better, more cheesy, more tangy, more flavoury (word?). Just the best, basically.
The Best Mac and Cheese (with tortellini and 2 secret ingredients!)
- 1 1/2 cups of dry pasta of your choice
- 1 ( 9 oz/250 g ) package of fresh tortellini or ravioli (small ish one are better)
For the Sauce:
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1 clove of garlic , minced
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups of milk (I used 1%)
- 5 oz of grated Cheddar cheese (mature is best because it gives more flavour. I used a mixture of Gruyère and Cheddar)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup more milk + 2 tbsp of buttermilk powder)
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- salt + pepper
For the herby-breadcrumb topping:
- 2 tsp butter
- 1/3 cup fine breadcrumbs
- ~1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- salt + pepper
- ~1 oz Parmesan or Cheddar cheese , grated
Cook the dry pasta until al dente (usually 2 minutes less than instructed on the packet). (Don't cook the tortellini/ravioli). Drain, and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (225 degrees C).
To make the sauce: add the butter and garlic to a medium saucepan and stir over a medium heat for a minute or two, just to cook the garlic a little. Add the flour and stir (I like using a whisk) until you get a smooth paste. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
Very gradually, add the first 1/2 cup of milk to the pan, stirring it in as you do. Mix in the cream cheese, then slowly add the rest of the milk. Continue to heat the mixture, stirring frequently, for 5-10 minutes until you can tell it has thickened. Stir in the buttermilk (or buttermilk powder + milk), and the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir the pasta into the sauce, then pour into a large,oven proof dish.
Make the breadcrumb topping by melting the butter in a small frying pan, add the breadcrumbs, thyme and salt and pepper. Toast over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until crisped. Scatter the grated Parmesan/Cheddar evenly over the surface of the pasta, followed by the breadcrumbs. Bake for 10 minutes until golden.