Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Three Perfect Mac & Cheese Recipes For Winter

I love mac & cheese and always forget how easy it is to make. The basic recipe of cheese and noodles is delicious of course, but additions like vegetables, protein and crunchy toppings make a good dish great. Today I am posting three recipes for mac & cheese that can be served as a main course. With a green salad, you have a meal.

The fist recipe is for Mac & Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower and Leeks adapted from the January 2013 edition of Bon Appetit Magazine. They posted a recipe for "No-Boil Mac and Cheese". Brilliant really in that the uncooked pasta is covered with the cheese sauce and then baked in the oven. Easy and delicious. I copied the technique exactly, so all credit goes to them, but I lightened it up a bit and added roasted cauliflower and sauteed leeks for flavor and whole wheat pasta and panko for the health benefits. Wonderful as a main dish or the perfect side to roasted salmon or chicken.  Try this recipe...comfort food at its best. Enjoy!

Mac & Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower and Leeks
adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2013
(serves 4)
1 head cauliflower, separated into florets then cut into quarters
extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, cleaned and chopped, white and light green parts
1/8 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (from dairy case not canned)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 lb whole wheat pasta, I like chiocciole shape, but shells or elbow macaroni works well too
1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup whole wheat panko
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place cauliflower on prepared sheet, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and a large pinch each salt and pepper. Using your hands, turn cauliflower in oil until covered. Roast in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until beginning to brown and caramelize. Remove from oven and set aside. Do not turn off oven.

Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leeks and saute for 4 minutes until beginning to soften. Add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Whisk in the coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Remove from heat.

Add pasta to rimmed, deep dish pie plate. Add roasted cauliflower and 1 cup cheese and stir to combine. Pour sauce over pasta mixture ensuring pasta is totally submerged. Do not stir. Cover tightly with foil and bake until pasta is almost tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in saucepan used to make the sauce, add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add garlic and panko and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. 

Remove dish from oven. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and then panko mixture. Add back to oven and bake for 10-15 minutes longer. Pasta should be "al dente", cheese bubbling and panko topping golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve.

Two additional Mac & Cheese recipes to try:

mac & cheese with ham & jalapenos

mac & cheese with tuna & green chile

It is Mac & Cheese Week at Food Network's Comfort Food Feast roundup. Do you have a favorite mac & cheese recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network.
Feed Me Phoebe: White Cheddar Mac 'n Cheese Casserole
Creative Culinary: 
Green Chile Mac and Cheese
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Bang Bang Cauliflower Mac ’n Cheese
The Mom 100: 
Creamy Four Cheese Penne Rigate
Healthy Eats: 
5 Reasons to Put Down That Box of Mac and Cheese
Taste with the Eyes: 
Mac and Cheese, Ham, Carrot, Celery, Onion {gluten-free}
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Cacio e Pepe
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
One Skillet Mac & Cheese
Red or Green: 
Three Perfect Mac & Cheese Recipes For Winter
From My Corner of Saratoga: 
Buffalo Mac n Cheese Recipe
FN Dish: 
Here's How to Eat Mac and Cheese for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.


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