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Enjoy this rich dish in moderation

Oct. 18, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

There are about as many noodle casserole recipes as there are people who enjoy them, which is everyone, I suspect.

There are even more recipes that over cook the noodles, sending it to the land where only the wimpy live never more to shine again since no amount of rich luscious cheese can breathe any sustainable life into its cold dead lifelessness.

That's why I have a method in which to avoid all that mess because, if you've ever eaten a mushy noodle, you'll understand what I mean by "mess."

This is a casserole I save for the cold weather months or when I know there are going to be growing boys who need rich nourishment in my home. I say "growing boys" because I feel they are the select target market who can handle the richness this meal boasts. When I say "richness," I really mean "lots of fat," which is why I affectionately named this dish Heart Attack Casserole. But oh, is it good. Fat or not, if you can take the heat, you'll love it, too. The velvety rich sauce provides a bed of sauciness where the noodles and sausage, that's right, I said sausage, bathe and waller. I ate a little and wasn't hungry until the next day. So yeah, it will definitely stick to your ribs.

I would say you could substitute the heavy whipping cream for half and half, but then I'd be remiss if I didn't warn you of the impending "there's something missing" thought. Plus, I never skimp on flavor by omitting the fat. I say skip the dish altogether and save it for a day that follows many that you've been very good to watch your calorie intake.

Otherwise, you'll be missing the God-given essence meant to be enjoyed from time to time. In other words, moderation. It's a good thing.

HEART ATTACK CASSEROLE

1 pkg. of chorizo sausage

16 oz. heavy whipping cream

1 cup parmesan cheese grated

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 lb. cooked elbow macaroni cooked al dente

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven and turn on the broiler.

In a large skillet brown the chorizo sausage, tomatoes and mushrooms. Add the heavy whipping cream and bring to boil. Add the cheese and stir.

In a casserole dish add the pasta and pour in the sausage and cream mixture. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Place this in the oven long enough to brown the cheese. Since you aren't baking the ingredients you will preserve the texture of the macaroni.

Janet McCormick is the owner of The Tea Room Cafe in Proctorville, Ohio, and the author of "10-Minute Meals." She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.

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