Red Thai curry mac

If I cross my eyes this image reminds me of this painting of a woman lounging in an orange dress. Well, maybe not. It is quite lovely in its orange-ness though. This hue is not the result of cheese alone. I have Aarti Sequeira to thank for this recipe. While I’ve defected to the Cooking Channel, I do enjoy Aarti’s recipes. They’re creative fusions of Asian and/or Indian cooking with American classics, and I appreciate this. I enjoy her pre-Food Network self-launched cooking weblog. She is neither defined by her Indian ancestry or her adopted country. She is simply a sweet and energetic cook who has an eclectic palate, as most of us do, I think. The vibrant orange of this mac and cheese comes from an entire jar of pre-prepared red thai curry paste. Who knew that one could combine colby and monterey jack cheese with…eh hem…lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger), fish sauce and shrimp paste (among other things).  It works though. It really works.

Red Thai curry mac

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb corkshrew or macaroni pasta
  • 1 jar red Thai curry paste
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 5 cups milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Preparation
Put a well-salted pot of water on to boil. Boil the pasta according to package instructions (probably about 10-12 minutes). Drain and set aside. Meanwhile prepare the cheese sauce by heating the butter and flour in a pot, cooking until combined and slightly toasted, about 5 min. At this point, add the milk and heat until it reaches the boiling point, then lower the heat, and scald until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in order to prevent sticking to the bottom and to ensure a skin does not form on top of the scalding milk. Add curry paste, some extra salt and pepper and stir to combine. Remove from heat and add the grated cheese. Toss with the pasta and pour into a buttered baking dish. Nuke the butter or melt on the stove, and combine with the bread crumbs in a small bowl. Pour over the mac and cheese. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or place under the broiler for 1 minute to brown the bread crumbs. Definitely serve hot for the best flavor.
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