Day four of 12 Days of Oscar brings us the first film in this year’s feature that did win an Oscar. Diablo Cody won an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay for the 2008 film Juno. Juno stars Ellen Page as Juno MacGuff, a snarky sixteen-year-old who discovers she is pregnant with her longtime friend Paulie Bleeker’s (Michael Cera) baby. Juno makes a series of decisions throughout the course of the film including how she really feels about Paulie. Juno was also nominated for Best Picture (lost to No Country for Old Men), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Ellen Page, who lost to Marion Cotillard for her role in La Vie en Rose), and Best Director (Jason Reitman who lost to the Coen brothers for No Country for Old Men).
Juno’s hamburger phone or the jugs of Sunny Delight she chugs could have been some inspiration here but I had a better idea. At the end of the film (spoiler alert!), Juno describes Paulie as the cheese to her macaroni. Macaroni and cheese are great together, and so are Juno and Paulie. I love a good, classic macaroni and cheese that starts with a roux and gets baked with buttery bread crumbs on top. I don’t always have time to do all of that, and when I’m pressed for time I make a simple stove top version instead. This is a quick mac and cheese but if you have a little extra time it does hold up to being topped with bread crumbs and baked. Use whatever cheese you have on hand (I used smoked Gouda because I had some to use up and it was a little stringy but OMG so good), and while I suggest shells or elbow macaroni to really soak up the cheese sauce, you can go ahead and use penne or ziti or whatever else you have on hand.
Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 lb. pasta, any shape
- 1 1/2 C. whole or 2 % milk
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2-3 C. shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterrey Jack, or C olby are best but I used Gouda here and it was great)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. powdered mustard
Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.
Add pasta and a tablespoon of salt to the boiling water.
Cook for about 8 minutes until the pasta is al dente.
Drain pasta and set aside.
When the pasta has finished cooking, warm 1 C. of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk together the remaining 1/2 C. of milk and the flour until there are no lumps.
When steam starts to rise from the warming milk, whisk in the milk and flour mixture.
Continue whisking gently for 3 to 4 minutes until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream.
Turn the heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the milk.
Stir in the salt and mustard.
Stir until all of the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy.
Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.
Remove the sauce from the heat.
Combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce in a large bowl and stir to coat the pasta evenly.
Add the second half of the sauce and any add-ins you like (cooked ham or cooked bacon are two of my favorites).
Source: The Kitchn