I don't know how old you are, but if you're my age, you certainly remember Noodle-Roni and Rice-a-Roni. There was an annoying commercial that I can only remember a snippet of (the one they wanted you to) and it piped cheerily "Rice . . . A-Roni! The San Francisco Treat!"
Well, let me tell you, they didn't need the jingle. We kids lapped that stuff up like hamsters in a honeydew patch, mainly because our mothers fed it to us in toxic amounts. My shake-knee weakness was Noodles Romanoff, by Betty Crocker. Today, I can think of nothing to recommend the original; it was in a box quite similar to today's Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and the selling point was that it could be made in one pot. Just add some milk, and presto! instant dinner. It was pasty and viscuous and salty and day-glo yellow — crack-a-roni for little kids. I have no idea why it was named Noodles Romanoff. One has visions of the imperial family of Russia lounging about the palace snacking on vodka-laced stroganoff prepared with these very noodles: "Svetlana, my dear, more of zose vanderful noodles!"— but the reality was very different. Still, an addict never strays far from the fix, so I went in search of a recipe that would approximate this marvelously kid-dictive concoction. Here's what I came up with:
The key to success here is the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese day-glo yellow powder. Without it, you will never approach the original.
One package egg noodles (about 1 lb.)
1 cup sour cream (use full fat—don't make me come over there)
2 T butter, melted
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped finely
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (okay, so I'm a cheese snob, except for):
1 package day-glo cheddar cheese powder from a box of Kraft Macaroni 'n' Cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Cracked pepper to taste
Directions: Cook the noodles to al dente. While cooking noodles, sauté the onion and garlic in butter in large saucepan. Add parsley at the last minute; remove from heat. When noodles are a hair away from being done, drain but retain residual pasta water (don't wring them dry).
Put the hot noodles into the saucepan, then add the sour cream, day-glo powder and half the Reggiano. Mix very well with the cooked onions, garlic and parsley. The result should be a pleasingly creamy deep yellow mess. Add the pepper. Serve in individual bowls with the rest of the parmesan. Serve with a bone-in country ham and shots of frozen Smirnoff. Call rehab.
Incidentally, there was a double meaning in the title of this entry. The people who make Kraft Macaroni and Cheese are Philip Morris — the masters of addiction.