Cooking for a crowd

…is fun, if a little stressful.  But when everyone pitches in, the food doesn’t have to be a smashing success in order for the night to be one.  We made mac and cheese, wasabi pea-encrusted salmon (another hannah the crazy scientist idea), and roasted vegetables.  It was the first night my housemates and I all dined together, along with an honorary member, and it was unanimously decided that we should do it more often and shame on us for not doing it sooner. Collectively, we are a yoga instructor, an IT grad student, an architect, a video production staffer, and a me. We are different but I think we work, so even if I move out soon I have already put in a request to retain my seat at the table.

Mac and cheese – cavatappi is definitely one of my favorite pasta shapes, much preferred to rigatoni, fusilli, farfalle, and penne. It has a real girth and just enough twist to intrigue, like a carbohydrate half-smile. We cooked the pasta just short of al dente, then mixed in the cheese sauce (mozz, cheddar, milk, scallions) and stuck it under the broiler for 10-15 minutes to caramelize the top. The pasta held up well, chewy and gooey with an onion-y bite. Next time I will be tempted to spread the mac and cheese in a thin layer on a baking sheet before broiling to achieve maximal surface area caramelization, and correspondingly, maximal deliciousness since every bite will be the ultimate trifecta of crunchy, chewy, gooey goodness.

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Salmon – seasoned with salt, pepper, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Pretty but severely overdone. I am hopeful that the concept, a variation at least in my mind on nut crusts, is solid but more testing is required.

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