Last weekend we had about 7 inches of snow here in Northern New Jersey. It was a light, fluffy kind of snow, made all the more wonderful because it fell on a Saturday when we had no place to go. We were able to sit by the fire in our family room and watch out the window as it fell. It was a relaxing, peaceful day and a perfect time for comfort food, so I dug out my mom’s Ooey Gooey Mac & Cheese recipe.
• 1 lb. penne pasta
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 2 Tbsp. butter
• 2 Tbsp. flour
• 2 c. heavy cream
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. black pepper
• 1 ½ c. shredded mozzarella
• 1 c. shredded white cheddar cheese
• ¾ c. grated romano cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°. Cook the penne in 4 quarts of salted water till al dente. Drain well, return to pot and toss with olive oil.
Melt butter in a saucepan over med-low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Slowly whisk in cream, bring to a simmer, and cook till slightly thickened — making sure to whisk frequently. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
Combine cheeses in a large bowl. Fold the cooked pasta into the cheeses and then pour the hot cream mixture over the pasta and cover the bowl immediately with foil. Let it stand for about 3 minutes. Uncover the bowl and stir with rubber spatula, scraping the melted cheese from the sides and bottom of the bowl until everything is combined and all the cheese is melted. Transfer the mixture to a 9” x 13” baking dish. Bake till top is light golden, about 15 minutes, and serve.