I Baked ‘Parks & Recreation’s Genius Food Creation
Shoutout to Netflix for helping me get through the most emotional year of my life. Since the state-wide shutdown of March 2020, I spent over 10,000 hours on the streaming service re-watching Schitt’s Creek, New Girl, and Parks & Recreation from Season 1, Episode 1.
If what the myth says is true, and 10,000 hours really does make you an expert at something, then consider me an expert at lounging, not wearing a bra, not washing my hair, and Netflix. Thank you, quarantine.
Toward the end of my Parks & Recreation binge, I picked up on something delicious: a macaroni and cheese pizza inspired by Ben and Leslie from Season 6, Episode 20.
I mean, come on, it’s two of my favorite foods merged into one. I had to try it for myself and by that, I mean “force my fiancé to bake the pizza for me because I’m beyond useless in the kitchen.”
With an abundance of time on our hands these days, we made it our mission last night to make the best damn mac ‘n’ cheese pizza within our culinary wheelhouse. Below, the pros and cons of how our creation turned out and the things I’d do differently next time.
You can’t really go wrong with a mac ‘n’ cheese pizza if you already love these two foods on their own. Needless to say, you must love cheese and ideally, you wouldn’t be lactose intolerant, otherwise, prepare yourself for countless trips to the bathroom with severe diarrhea.
As for the actual cooking aspect, follow the instructions on the mac ’n’ cheese box (you can use any brand, ie: Kraft, Annie’s, Deluxe, etc.) and cook it on the stovetop with water and a dash of milk for added creaminess. We bought a pre-made plain pizza crust from the grocery store and baked it at home in the oven with the noodles on top for a golden brown color.
The cons and what I’d do differently
Even though you can use any mac ‘n’ cheese brand, I wished we cooked with skinnier, smaller noodles than Deluxe. The Deluxe noodles are rounder and more shell-shaped. I think a cylindrical shape, like the ones from Kraft, would work better on the pizza and feel less heavy.
As for the crust, I would by a skinny, thin-crust version next time. The crust we bought was too thick, bulky, doughy, and filling for my taste. The thinner and crunchier the crust, the better, in my opinion, especially when you have creamy noodles on top. You need that balance of creaminess and crunch.
If you prefer your mac ‘n’ cheese with a semi-crunchy baked top, then proceed as we did by baking your crust with the cooked noodles on top. This will give your noodles a golden brown color.
I actually dislike a baked top, so I’d prefer to cook my pizza crust separately and then top it with noodles afterward right before serving. But hey, it all comes down to personal taste at the end of their day.
Some people love a thick pizza crust deep-dish Chicago style. Others, including myself, love that Italy-meets-New York thin crust with an almost burnt coloring.