I’m kind of drooling over Kat’s Mac & Cheese recipe. I’ve made homemade mac and cheese (as in, not from a box) maybe twice in my life, and I always struggle with the roux. “Add more butter” sounds like a good solution to me – for a lot of life’s problems.
Since we’re in a bit of a dinner party mode here at Lace and Lemons, I thought I’d share my go-to contribution to meals. I have not yet hosted my own dinner party, and entrees are not my forte. But when there’s a group-effort dinner, like a church potluck or a family holiday, I’m not afraid to volunteer to bring the bread – or more precisely, the Parmesan knots.
Before anyone gets the idea that we’re making bread from scratch, I’ll put this out there right now: I can’t bake bread. Well, I can’t bake bread yet. I so want to learn. I baked it once in an outdoor stone oven and it was awesome, but I had a lot of guidance and didn’t do everything myself. I know the joys of homemade bread, I just can’t seem make them happen in my own kitchen. So I cheat a bit.
Parmesan Knots (Adapted from Taste of Home)
These are pretty adaptable, but here’s how I make mine. I take out my staple cooking spices: parsley, oregano and basil. I also grab garlic powder, grated Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
Starting with about 1/4 cup of the cheese, I mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, using about 1/2 teaspoon of each of the spices. Then I add about 1/4 cup of the oil, or enough to make the mix spreadable, but not so much that when you go to spread it on your rolls all you get is oil and the spices slide off.
Next, I pop open a tube of buttermilk biscuits, then take a moment to recover.
These work with other biscuit varieties, but flaky buttermilk is the best. Trust me. Depending on the brand you buy, there are usually 10 biscuits in a tube. You get two knots from each biscuit. I count on at least two knots per person (but probably more).
To form the knots, each biscuit is cut in half. I gently roll each half into a rope, about 5 or 6 inches long.
Then I tie each rope into a basic knot (if you want to get really fancy, be my guest) and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
They’re baked in a 400 degree oven for about 8-11 minutes until they’re golden brown.
As soon as they’re done, I brush them with the oil/herb/cheese mixture, then let them cool. Place them in a pretty bread basket and bring them to your next dinner party, where the other guests will ooh and aah over how impressive and delicious they are!
A few things I really like about these: They smell and taste heavenly. They look complicated, what with that knot and all, and thus have a wow factor. And they freeze wonderfully, which makes them a great do-ahead recipe.
If you want to freeze them, once they’ve cooled place the baking sheet in the freezer for 10 or 15 minutes to flash freeze them. Then you can toss them in a Ziploc bag and they won’t freeze to each other. The frozen rolls can be reheated at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
This is a great “whatever’s in the pantry” recipe. You don’t have to stick to the cheese and spices recommended here. For example: If you have some freshly grated asiago cheese left over from your five cheese baked mac and cheese dish, you could definitely use that. I’d also like to mix in some red pepper flakes or some cayenne pepper and see how that goes over.