One of the benefits of being on your own for dinner is that you can have whatever you want. If that’s a bowl of popcorn, fine. A pint of Ben & Jerry’s, fine. Sometimes, that’s just what I want.
One of the benefits of being on your own for dinner is that you can have whatever you want.
But I find eating alone is a welcome opportunity to cook and indulge in one of my favorite comfort foods: mac ‘n’ cheese. I usually have all the ingredients on hand–some kind of small pasta, a variety of cheeses, and milk. To that you can add anything else you like; I like mushrooms this time of year. Sausage is good, too, as is spinach. But most recipes are for four or more people, so I created this version, which is just enough for one.
Baked Pasta and Cheese for One
You can add anything to the mix, but I enjoy the way the earthy mushrooms mesh with the cheese. Serve with a green salad and a glass of chardonnay for lovely supper.
3 ounces mezzi tubetti (or penne or elbow macaroni)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 1/2 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded (or use a blend of your favorite cheeses)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of cayenne
1. Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes or until al dente.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. While the pasta cooks, heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add the mushrooms, and saute 5 minutes or until they’ve released their liquid and browned a bit. Scrape the mushrooms from the pan.
3. Return the pan to medium heat. Add milk. Whisk in the flour. Cook over medium heat 4 minutes, or until thickened, whisking constantly. Remove pan from heat. Add cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk until the cheese melts.
4. When the pasta is done, drain it well in a colander. Add pasta and mushrooms to cheese sauce, stirring to combine. Transfer pasta to a single-serving ovenproof dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Yield: 1 serving.