[this is currently being written while Roma is waging war against a fly under my desk]
Burger Week is almost over, and I hardly participated this year. I have eaten one burger. Well, one half of a burger. We stopped at one location and the wait was well over an hour [which is expected], so we left and ate falafel at Wolf & Bear’s instead. An excellent choice. Afterward, we went to Alberta Street Pub. They were also still slow [and still expected], but I didn’t have a case of hangry looming. Beers were consumed. The Olympics were watched because that’s all that restaurants and bars show right now. We split a peach caprese juicy lucy. What is a juicy lucy you say? That is a burger stuffed with cheese instead of cheese on top—so the mozzarella of caprese is inside the burger. The tomatoes were traded into peaches caramelized in bacon vinaigrette. I’ll let you think about that for a minute.
I’ve been craving macaroni and cheese lately. I don’t want to succumb to it for some reason, but it’s there calling my name. I had a craving for a ham, gruyere, and butter baguette sandwich from Addy’s Sandwich Bar for awhile, and I squashed that craving earlier this week. Coco Donuts has been posting all kinds of donuts on Instagram. It gave me a craving one of their signature donuts—a raised donut with chocolate frosting and topped with chocolate covered espresso beans. That craving was satisfied this morning. Now this mac and cheese craving comes out of no where, and I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. I’m not craving a specific place’s mac, so we’ll see how long this sticks around. The odds of me making a batch are slim.
This pasta is the closest thing I’ve made to macaroni and cheese in a long, long time. Since this blue cheese pasta probably. It doesn’t look like I’ve ever made anything remotely traditional when it comes to macaroni and cheese. This mac and not-cheese? Talk about flashbacks. The whole shells and cheese + greens thing is a winner. I could always stand to see some greens in any mac and cheese I’m eating if only to make it look better. Certain bitter greens are great for cutting through richness, but in this case it was subtle. Thanks, broccoli raab [or rapini]. Goat cheese is tangy and lovely. It melts into the warm pasta creating a light creamy sauce, so I added a few fat chunks of it because I like it like that. Since there wasn’t any significant sources of I added shrimp because I had a frozen bag of it staring at me every time I look in the freezer. The shrimp are optional. You could leave it off entirely or add something else of your choosing. I don’t really think you could go wrong.
- 12oz small pasta, like shells or orecchiette
- 1 bunch rapini or broccoli raab, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 teaspoon chile flakes
- 4oz goat cheese, softened
- 1lb frozen, peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Boiling water takes forever. Once it starts boiling, add the rapini. Cook for about 4 minutes before removing to a large bowl of ice water. Pat dry the rapini. Don’t drain the water from the pot. Use it to cook the pasta according to package instructions.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and stir often until it’s golden brown. Add the shrimp, the paprika, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. Add the rapini and chile flakes. Toss until combined and then remove from heat.
Mix the drained pasta and the shrimp and rapini mixture together in a large bowl [or pasta pot]. Add half of the goat cheese to the pasta and stir to incorporate. It will melt and distribute. Add the remaining goat cheese as dollops to the individual servings.