Excessive amount of mac and cheese
I can see that there wouldn't be much point in giving you the recipe because I don't come close to following it anymore. If you want my version, which relies on instinct as much as measuring cups and spoons, just say the word, somebody, and I'll attempt to write it down here.
Why don't I find some other, more reliable recipe? — you may ask. I happen to like this one despite its troubles. Not all mac-and-cheese recipes start with making a roux — melted butter whisked with flour until it's the right shade of gold — and I can't imagine making mac and cheese any other way. The next step is to whisk in scalded milk, so I'm now making Béchamel sauce, although my butter isn't clarified (I can't be bothered). And adding the shredded cheese turns it into Mornay sauce (especially if I use Gruyère and cheddar, a traditional combo). So I'm making three classical French recipes for one all-American, low-rent dish. It's fun. (It also fills the sink with dirty dishes, but who cares?)
Tonight's variation was a winner. I used nitrate-free ham, and a lot of very aged Gouda, bought weeks ago from Harry's Cheese Shop at the Haymarket. I also shredded more than a half-pound of mild Wisconsin cheddar from Trader Joe's. I've always been suspicious of mild cheddar and orange-colored cheddar, and this is both. But I was in the mood to experiment, and it turns out to be ideal for mac and cheese. The color softens to a beautiful gold when you stir it into the Béchamel, the texture is extra creamy, and its flavor didn't overpower the Gouda. Cheese was freely oozing out of the penne, which is just what you want.
It's what I want, anyway. And it's a good thing, because I made enough for three more meals.