Friday, March 21, 2008

#3 Audrey's Deluxe Mac & Cheese with crispy pine nut-herb crust

This one is from the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook. I was really looking forward to making this because of all of the fresh herbs required. It was a bit disappointing though because the taste was actually pretty bland even though I used extra-old cheddar.

Serves 10

6 cups dry pasta shapes (I used regular elbow mac)
1/4 c olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 t salt
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c chopped oregano
2 T chopped thyme
1/2 c chopped Italian parsley
1/4 c butter
3 1/2 c milk
1/4 c unbleached flour
4 c grated aged white cheddar
4 c fresh breadcrumbs
1 c grated Parmesan
1/2 c pine nuts

1. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until just done. Strain and toss with a light coating of olive oil. Set aside or refrigerate.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil in a small skillet and sauté onion for 5 minutes. Add half of the minced garlic, 1/2 t salt and sauté until the garlic turns golden. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in half of the chopped herbs. Set aside.

3. Next, make a roux for the cheese sauce. Gently heat the milk and keep it warm. Set a saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. Sprinkle in flour and whisk constantly as teh flour and butter turn golden. Gradually add the warm milk adn 1 t salt and whisk thoroughly. Heat until the sauce thickens (about 10 minutes). Add the sautéed onion/herb mix, grated cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Season to taste.

4. Finally, make the topping. Combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining garlic, herbs, Parmesan, pine nuts, 1/2 t salt, plenty of cracked pepper and the remaining 3 T olive oil. Mix together thoroughly.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. To assemble, combine the noodles and cheese sauce in a large bowl and mix well. Pour into an oiled 9 x 13" baking dish. Scatter topping over the entire surface, working some of it into the noodles. Bake uncovered until golden and bubbly (about 40 minutes). Serve piping hot.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

#2 Macaroni and Cheese Lite


This recipe is found in the updated 1970's classic The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. It isn't anything like classic mac and cheese but so tasty with caraway seeds, cabbage, mushrooms, spinach, buttermilk and cottage cheese. I made it with brown rice noodles so it's easily wheat-free. The kids didn't like having to pick through the "green stuff" but Brent had two huge helpings.


Yield: at least 6 servings

1/2 lb (approx. 3 c) dry brown rice pasta - a short substantial shape, like fusilli, penne, macaroni
2 T butter or margarine
2 c chopped onion
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
4 c shredded cabbage (about 1/2 average head)
1 t salt
1 t caraway seeds
1 bunch fresh spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 lb (2 c) low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 c buttermilk
2 t dried dill, finely minced
fresh black pepper, to taste
2 c (packed) grated cheddar
a handful of sunflower seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

2. Cook the pasta until just barely tender. Drain thoroughly, and transfer to a large bowl.

3. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet, and add the onions. After sautéeing for about 5 minutes, add garlic, mushrooms, cabbage, salt, and caraway. Stir, cover, and cook until the cabbage is just tender (10 minutes). Stir in spinach, and remove from heat. Add to the pasta.

4. Stir in cottage cheese, buttermilk, dill, black pepper, and half of the cheddar. Taste to adjust seasonings, and spread into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and a few sunflower seeds, and bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

#1 Mac-and-Cheese with Broccoli



It was pretty spicy, very cheesy and not too thick and creamy. Yum!
4 servings

coarse salt
1 lb elbow macaroni
2 1/2 c broccoli florets
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 T all-purpose flour
1/2 t cayenne
1 t paprika
3 c whole milk
1 c chicken broth
3 c grated sharp yellow Cheddar
1 T Dijon mustard
freshly gound black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to season the cooking water, then add the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the broccoli adn cook for 3 minutes more or until the pasta is cooked al dente and the florets are just tender. Drain well and return to the pot.

While the pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and heat with the butter until it melts. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to sweat them out and turn the juices sweet. Raise the heat a bit, then whisk in the flour, cayenne, and paprika. Whisk together until the roux boils up, then cook for 1 minute more. Whisk in the milk and stock and raise the heat a bit higher to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Once it bubbles, drop the heat back to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cheese to the thickened sauce and stir to melt it, a minute or so. Stir in the mustard and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour over the broccoli and cooked pasta and toss to combine. Adjust the seasonings and serve.