|Macaroni-and-cheese is the all-time comfort casserole.|
I received a call from a Fat City reader last week with a bittersweet request: A friend of hers was going through chemotherapy and a group of friends had agreed to take dinner to the woman's family on different nights. A casserole seemed the obvious choice, since it could be prepared in advance and then baked at the family's convenience.
There were very few caveats, except that the youngster in the family was not a fan of onions. So what kind of casserole would be tasty, not too complicated to make, totally kid-friendly, and low on exotic ingredients?
There was only one logical source to ask.
Emily Farris, the Kansas City-based author of the 2008 cookbook Casserole Crazy, has some answers for both our reader and me.
"There are clever ways to sneak onions into a casserole without kids even realizing that they're in there," she says. "You chop the onion up really fine and saute it before adding it to a recipe. You can't even tell it's there."
Farris thinks that the right casserole for this instance is macaroni and cheese.
"It's super-easy, and kids love it," she says. "If you want to add vegetables, you can steam some broccoli and add it to the ingredients. I like making it with cavatelli pasta, sharp white cheddar and freshly grated parmesan cheese. You can bake it and take it over, or refrigerate it and take it over with baking instructions."
Macaroni and cheese also requires no onions. Salt, pepper and a touch of cayenne pepper are nice, though.
(Image via Flickr: stevendepolo)