Here in the south it's hot in the summer and sometimes I want a side dish that is both satisfying and cooling. Although I love Mac and Cheese I don't always want to turn on the oven and heat up the house so why not make a macaroni salad that has nice crisp vegetables and a southern twist, pimento cheese. So I came up with this idea for a Mac N Cheese salad, a dish even kids will like. I had bought some Velveta cheese for a hot Mac N Cheese I was planning to make so I added some diced pieces which put it over the top. Of course you can make your own version using whatever cheese you like and you can add diced ham, bacon, chicken, shrimp or even lobster if you have deep pockets. Its up to you.
1 lb. pasta (I like to use Cavatappi)
2 carrot peeled and diced
2 stalks celery diced
1/2 large red pepper diced
1/2 small Vidalia onion diced
6 - 8 sweet gherkins diced
2 tsp. ground mustard
1 Tbsp. Thyme
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup mayonnaise (I used Blue Plate)
1 cup pimento cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 - 3/4 lb. diced Velveta
Optional: any diced meat, shrimp or lobster
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a large pot of water and add enough salt so the water taste salty like the ocean. Add the pasta to the boiling salted water and cook until 95% done. We want the pasta to absorb the mayo. If you want you can cool the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking if the sauce will be done later.
2. Mix the pimento cheese and the mayonnaise together until creamy. Add more mayonnaise if necessary and then mix in the ground mustard, thyme and garlic powder. Fold in the cold pasta.
3. Dice the vegetables, optional meat and cheeses then fold into the pasta mixture. Season with salt and pepper then store in the refrigerator to let the flavors mingle.
Past Posts (click to select)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.