Independence Day Delights: A crazy-good macaroni and cheese dish with eight other recipes to eat with it.

Invite people over for civil discourse and insanely great food.

When I took typing class, we had a bunch of phrases we practiced. The quick brown fox jumped over the wooden fence. Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country.

To this day, I imagine wooden fences being easily cleared by a clever foxes, and people organizing themselves around the principles of democracy, throwing off the yokes of a monarch meddling with trade and so on.

With my smart phone, I don’t do much touch typing anymore, though. That’s OK. When I’m happy and want to show it, I like the red balloon emoji just fine.

And these recipes are worth a big bouquet of red balloons! I put together a crazy-good macaroni and cheese dish for you this week, and have a bunch of suggestions from our recipe catalog you can pick from as you plan your Independence Day party.

Get your friends over! Speak of true things, eat well, light a sparkler, avoid dangerous explosions, and be grateful that, after our split from the Brits, we still count them as friends. After all, even before the US inspired France’s revolution, the royal regime of the Brits had already established their own Bill of Rights limiting their monarchs and reinforcing the rule of law.

Change happens. Like the mac-and-cheese, it just has to cook well, with good ingredients that respect your health and happiness, and let cool a bit.

Baked rigatoni with sausage tomato sauce

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Start with:

1 pound cooked rigatoni cooked slightly shy of al dente (you’ll be baking it later to finish off the cooking time).

For the sausage tomato sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 pound turkey Italian sausage

  • 1 large onion diced

  • 4 cloves garlic finely diced

  • 4 cups excellent quality tomato sauce

  • 4 cups baby spinach

  • Aleppo flakes

As for the tomato sauce, homemade is best. If you buy a jar from the store, look for the ones with the lowest sugar so you get the best tomato flavor.

Procedure

In the bottom of your EuroCAST square sauté pan:

  1. Brown the onions and the sausage in 3 tablespoons olive oil.

  2. Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon.

  3. Sauté until the onions are just browned.

  4. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes 

  5. Add 4 cups excellent quality tomato sauce.

  6. Let simmer on low for 20 minutes

  7. Add baby spinach until it wilts.

Taste and season with kosher salt, black pepper and Aleppo flake if you care to. I almost always care to.

You could eat it just like this. But we’re all about the next step.

Making it Mac and Cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Procedure

  1. With a silicone spatula, remove the sauce from the square sauté pan into a bowl.

  2. Add the cooked rigatoni to the bowl.

  3. Add the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

  4. Stir. 

  5. Pour the contents of the bowl back into your new square saute pan.

  6. Cover with breadcrumbs and the remaining Parmesan cheese. If you want even more Parmesan cheese on top, no one’s looking, go ahead.

  7. Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the edges are browned.

Allow to cool a bit before serving. When it comes out of the oven hot, it’s too hot for consumption, no matter how gorgeous is looks and aromatic it is. 

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And to accompany this insanely delicious Macaroni and Cheese …

Ribs with cumin and Baharat spice

Click here for the recipe. Three racks of baby back ribs get special love. This will take six or seven hours. Get going!

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RACK OF LAMB, MUSHROOM CROSTINI, BLISTERED SHISHITOS

This was a Super Bowl special, but rack of lamb is a terrific idea any time, and it’s delicious with macaroni and cheese.

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DRY RUB RIBS

This was a dish done way long ago but it still makes my mouth water to this day. When I found the recipe in my files, I noticed I had suggested it with a macaroni and cheese accompaniment. So, yeah, this should work fine. This time, the spice is ras el hanout (which always sounded like a Batman villain to me, but it’s delicious), along with molasses and garlic powder. Yum.

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DUTCH OVEN COWBOY CHILI

Do I even need to describe how well chili goes with macaroni and cheese? No, I don’t. Click and eat.

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PORK ROAST WITH TOMATILLO SAUCE

When I offered this one to you about a year ago, I pitched it as a meal that almost makes itself. Not quite, but it’s not heavy lifting, creates perfect hand-held pockets of pleasure, and so it should make a great option for your holiday table.

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GRILLED STEAK WITH TARRAGON & MUSHROOM SAUCE

Last July, I had tarragon and mushrooms on my mind, and what better to pair with than a grilled steak? Here you go. Just in time for the barbie and some outdoor holiday fun.

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ROAST PORK LOIN WITH ZUCCHINI/CORN TART

This posting is an epic and easy roast pork loin. It suggests pairing with with a romaine salad with bleu cheese. That, or a homemade Caesar salad, could be terrific with the macaroni and cheese and pork loin. It’s hot. A cool salad is just the ticket.

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For a limited time! Until July 14, 2019, get the 10” EuroCAST Square Saute pan with lid for $200 off! Was $299.99, now only $99.99.

For a limited time! Until July 14, 2019, get the 10” EuroCAST Square Saute pan with lid for $200 off! Was $299.99, now only $99.99.

Paul WardComment