My friend Tracey’s bridal shower was today, and each guest was asked to bring a recipe for her wishing well. Tracey is a vegetarian who is allergic to nuts, so the recipes had to take that into account. I am a big meat eater, so I struggled to find a good recipe that went beyond my initial thoughts of spaghetti and tomato sauce. I just had a conversation at work about the lack of imagination non-vegetarians have when trying to think vegetarian, and I wanted to pick something good. I thought about dessert but decided that would be too easy.

In the end, I decided to go with my favorite macaroni and cheese recipe from The Cooking Club Cookbook. This is a cookbook I found in the bargain book bin at The Strand several years ago, and I use it all the time. There are some great recipes in here that real people can make, so my copy is pretty lovingly warn.

UPDATE 6/8/08: Here is the actual recipe for this macaroni and cheese, called Mini-Me Mac and Cheese

1 to 2 slices day-old bread, enough to make 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
*I just use bought breadcrumbs

1/2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan
2 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni
3 tbs butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

To prepare the breadcrumbs if making yourself, cut the bread into cubes and throw it in a food processor or blender. Spread the crumbs on a baking sheet and broil about 3 minutes. Toss the crumbs in a bowl with olive oil and Parmesan.

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the macaroni about 7 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and whisk until blended. Add the milk and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Add the mustard, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper. Simmer until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of the Cheddar and stir until melted. Preheat the broiler.

Combine the pasta and cheese sauce and stir until well coated. Spoon the mixture evenly into 6 small ramekins. Cover each top with some remaining Cheddar and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Place the ramekins in a shallow baking dish and broil 1-2 minutes, until top is browned.