I just returned from Vietnam, land of a million noodles – and I wolfed down plenty of them…banh nam, banh pho, cao lau, banh beo…
So what did I want upon hitting American soil again? More noodles. I was nursing a cold and craving comfort food. Made me realize that noodles have got to be the ultimate, universal comfort meal.
But I didn’t try to duplicate the Vietnamese recipes I’d tasted. I went straight to my tried and true favorites:
• Spaghetti Carbonara (which the spell-checker wants to rename “spaghetti coronary” – appropriate if you go overboard on the bacon). But not just any recipe. The quintessential, toss-together carbonara in Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires is simply the best. For two people, I use half the pasta, but still throw in two eggs. Ruth notes that “real” spaghetti carbonara doesn’t use cream, so neither does her recipe. How good is it? We devoured the entire bowl before I thought to take a picture. Always soul satisfying.
• Macaroni and Cheese. It can be nasty out of a box – yet sublime when it’s homemade. I love the recipe for Creamy Macaroni and Cheese that ran in the NY Times a few years back. Downside: it uses an entire pound of sharp cheddar (so maybe the spell-checker should suggest “macaroni and coronary”). Upside: you don’t have to pre-cook the pasta. I like to toss some panko breadcrumbs on top for the last ten minutes. Makes a great crispy crust. The stuff is so decadently delicious I’ve even served it to dinner guests.
Have you tried these? Got something better? Tweet me @BeenThere8That (too much spam on the blog comments).