Tag Archives: macaroni and cheese

Jarlsberg and Ricotta Mustardy Mac and Cheese

7 Oct

As I was reading for First Amendment (which, incidentally, is the weirdest area of law I have so far encountered in my studies), I was day dreaming about what to make for lunch.  And like a bolt of lightning, it hit me – I hadn’t made mac and cheese in a good long time.  Especially not the baked variety. And, because I am a cheese monster, I knew I had all of the ingredients necessary to make a pretty bad ass version on hand.

The combination of flavors in this particular mac and cheese is really stellar.  The Jarlsberg has a pungent sharpness, the ricotta a straightforward creaminess, and the pecorino romano a sharp bite.  The vegetable stock adds a rich layer of flavor – and takes the calories down several notches, which is always a plus.  All of those flavors are reinforced and highlighted by the bright, sharp Dijon mustard and slightly sweet heat of the New Mexico chile powder.  The sauce was extremely creamy – and had that awesome, melt-y, string-y thing going on where you grab a noodle and the cheese just oozes in beautiful, bendy strings of glory.  The bottom and top of the casserole both crisped up beautifully to act as a contrast to the creamy cheese.

So if you’re looking for a slightly fancier-than-average, creamier-than-average, more-flavorful-than-average macaroni and cheese … I suggest you start shredding up some Jarlsberg.

Jarlsberg and Ricotta Mustardy Mac and Cheese

1/2 box pasta (I used penne rigate)

2 tbs. butter

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup vegetable stock

1/2 cup Jarlsberg cheese, shredded

1/2 cup ricotta

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, shredded

3 tbs. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. New Mexican chile powder

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2-3 tbs. Italian bread crumbs

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring a medium sauce pan of water to a boil.  When boiling, add noodles and cook two minutes less than package instructions.

As soon as you add the noodles, melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  While whisking, slowly add flour.  Don’t worry if it is slightly clumpy toward the end.

Continuously whisking, add the vegetable stock.  Whisk until smooth and creamy.  If any liquid remains, cook until it evaporates.

Add cheese and whisk to combine into a creamy sauce.  Stir in mustard and chile powder.  Taste for seasonings, and add salt and pepper as necessary.

At this point, the noodles should be ready to drain.  Drain noodles and then add the noodles to the cheese sauce.  Stir to evenly combine.

Spray a small casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Transfer the noodles to the casserole dish.  Top with the bread crumbs and spray again with nonstick.

Transfer to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes until bread crumb topping is light golden brown and the cheese sauce bubbles.  Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve.

Happy National Macaroni Day!

7 Jul

Because today is National Macaroni Day, I thought I would post my three favorite macaroni and cheese recipes this morning in order to give you an opportunity to celebrate with any of these easy-to-prepare mac and cheese recipes for lunch or dinner.   I have waxed poetic before about my deep and powerful love for any and all forms of macaroni and cheese.  It’s the bees knees, and these are a few of my very favorite ways to consume cheese-coated, noodle-y goodness.

I will also post a new, non-macaroni recipe later on in the day, so stay tuned.

Happy National Macaroni Day!

Sausage and Leek Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Smokey sautéed sausage and leeks group up with some creamy Swiss and sharp cheddar to create a filling, comforting bowl of macaroni and cheese in this delightful dish.

Ricotta Dill Mac and Cheese

The light, bright flavors of lemon and dill combined with a rich creamy ricotta to make the perfect bite.  The mix between creamy and crunchy is absolutely perfect thanks to the crispy whole wheat bread crumbs.

Chipotle and Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

 This mac and cheese is spicy, smokey, creamy, tomatoey, herby, and absolutely delicious.  The bright orange color imparted from the tomatoes and chipotles was absolutely gorgeous.

Ricotta Dill Mac and Cheese

21 Apr

The weather was chilly and rainy.  I was frustrated with my over-the-page limit and ever-expanding legal writing assignment.  I had a job interview in the afternoon and was looking to cheer myself up before driving over there.  All of that spells a desperate need for some comfort food.  Which, for me, means cheese.  In this case, mac and cheese.  This turned out absolutely decadent and turned my mood around in a jiffy.  I am a big proponent of baked macaroni and cheese – it’s worth the extra few minutes every single time.  Creamy, melt-y, crunchy, and gooey, this was a smile in a bowl.

Ricotta Dill Mac and Cheese

1 cup whole wheat shells

1/4 cup lemon dill-ricotta spread

1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded

1 tbs. butter

2 tsp. all-purpose flour

1/4 cup 1% milk

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375º.

Bring a medium sauce pan of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.  Drain thoroughly.

In a medium nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat.  A little at a time, whisk in flour until smooth.  Cook until slightly golden brown, whisking frequently.  Continuously whisking, add milk.  While whisking, add mozzarella and lemon-dill ricotta spread.  Add noodles and dill to the pan and stir to coat.  Transfer to an oven proof bowl.

Top with bread crumbs and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake 15-20 minutes until heated through and bread crumbs are golden brown.

Sausage and Leek Baked Macaroni and Cheese

25 Feb

I thought about making this dish all  day.  I yearned for it, pined for it, fantasized about it.  My mouth watered over it, my tummy rumbled over it.  At a certain point, I began to tell myself, “Chill out.  It won’t be nearly as good as you’re imagining it will be.  You’re building it up too much.  You’re going to disappoint yourself!”  I wanted this to be good, because yesterday Zak told me he ate dinner on Monday at “this burger Asiany place” where he got a “truffle cheese and glazed burger and split a truffle beet salad.”  I asked him where and my suspicions were confirmed – Umami Burger.  I was jealous.

After I ate this, though, I wasn’t jealous.  All of my pining paid off.  This was delicious.  The crispy, smokey goodness of the sausage, the creamy deliciousness of the cheese and macaroni, and the slightly bitter flavor of the leek greens worked so well together.  The panko crust was buttery and crunchy.  This was so, so good.  It takes about 15 minutes of hands on time and is simple and easy.  If you can chop up some sausage and use a whisk, you can make this macaroni and cheese to end all macaroni and cheeses.

Sausage and Leek Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 cup elbow noodles, cooked al dente and drained (I used Barilla Plus for some extra nutritional value)

4 oz. smoked low fat turkey sausage, cut into 1/2″ dice

1 tsp. olive oil

1/2 cup leek greens, roughly chopped

1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated

1/2 cup very sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup 1% milk

3 tbs. unsalted butter, softened and divided

1 tbs. all natural, whole wheat flour

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat a olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add turkey sausage and sauté until well-browned and crispy, 8-10 minutes.  Add leek greens and stir to coat with any rendered fat and olive oil.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat milk in a small saucepan until heated through and barely at a simmer.

Melt 2 1/2 tbs. butter over medium heat in a medium sauté pan.  Slowly whisk in flour to form a rue.  While whisking, slowly add hot milk.  When smooth, while whisking, add grated cheese in small batches to form a sauce.

Mix together pasta, sauce, sausage, and leeks.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Place in an oven proof bowl.

Mix together remaining 1/2 tbs. butter and bread crumbs.  Top noodles with bread crumbs and bake, uncovered, 25 minutes until bread crumbs are golden brown and cheese sauce is bubbling.

Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Garlic

6 Oct

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese?  The mixture of cheeses in this was perfectly decadent without being overwhelming, and complimented perfectly by the sweet, smokey flavor of the roasted garlic.  The light heat from the crushed red pepper flakes and the paprika in the bread crumbs was a nice foil to the richness of the gouda.  The final product had the perfect amount of cheese, in my opinion, but if you like a REALLY creamy macaroni and cheese, increase the amount of milk, cheeses, and water-flour mixture proportionately.  Finally, I often make a lightened-up version of this dish by substituting chicken stock for the milk.  It’s extremely delicious, too, so if you’re really counting calories I recommend you try it out.

Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Garlic

Makes about 6 servings

1 box elbow pasta, cooked al dente

1 1/2 cups very sharp cheddar, shredded

1 cup Gruyère, shredded

3/4 cup gouda, shredded

1 1/2 cups 2% milk

4-5 cloves roasted garlic, smashed well with fork

3 tbs. all natural, whole wheat flour plus 5 tbs. water

1/2 cup Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2-3 tsps. dried parsley

Freshly cracked black pepper

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350º.

Combine three types of cheeses, crushed red pepper flakes, dried parsley and freshly cracked black pepper.  Set aside.

Combine panko breadcrumbs, paprika, and freshly cracked black pepper.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat milk until just beginning to boil.  Meanwhile, whisk together the flour and water until thoroughly combined.  When milk is just beginning to boil, whisk in flour/water combination.  Continue whisking until mixture has thickened.  Slowly add half of the cheese and whisk until well combined.  Add the smashed roasted garlic and stir to combine.  Heat for a minute or two to allow the flavors to meld.  Add cooked noodles. and stir to combine.  Add remainder of cheese and stir until all noodles are coated and cheese is melted.

Spray a large casserole dish or oven-safe glass bowl with non-stick cooking spray.  Transfer noodle-cheese mixture to casserole or bowl and top evenly with seasoned breadcrumbs.

Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes until heated through and breadcrumbs are golden brown.

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