Thursday, February 19, 2009

Simple Mac and Cheese

I was making dinner tonight and realized I needed a starch or I'd be pigging out again in three hours. While the chicken grilled and the greens were braising, I rummaged around in the cabinets to see what our options were. I didn't feel like rice, couscous, or bulgur. Pasta might work but, I didn't have any store bought sauce and I didn't feel like making something that was going to take 45 minutes. Mmmm, mac and cheese? Well, shells and cheese, I guess since that's what I used.

I can't stand boxed mac and cheese and most baked are too dry (despite being loaded with cream and fat!) I'm not even remotely skilled when it comes to making white sauces but I had some cheddar and goat cheese in the fridge that need to be used up (I don't like to waste food-learned family trait!) so I figured I'd at least try. If it didn't work out, we could always just have some toast with the rest of dinner.

Anyhow, it came out creamy and smooth and since I used chicken stock instead of several cups of cream, it's slightly better for you than what you've probably had in the past. I bet it would be awesome with some broccoli stirred in.

This makes 4 large side dish portions but the recipe can easily be doubled to feed more.


2 tbsp butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half
couple shakes of worcestershire sauce
couple light shakes of hot sauce
kosher salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp ground dry mustard
2 oz goat cheese
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
6oz of your favorite pasta shape (makes about 3 cups cooked)

Fill a pasta pot with water, add a dash of salt and a small drizzle of olive oil (the oil prevents the water from boiling over) and bring to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat a medium saucepan to medium and melt the two tablespoons of butter in it. Next, add the flour and stir frequently until the flour is well mixed in and browned (3 minutes or so) then add both the half and half and chicken stock and raise to a simmer, stiring occasionally. When the mixture has thickened (4 or 5 minutes), add salt, pepper, worcestershire, hot sauce and dry mustard. Stir well and turn off heat. Cover. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to the directions. Drain pasta when tender and return to pot. Add goat and cheddar cheese, and pour in your sauce. Mix until the cheeses have melted and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve!

Try stiring in broccoli, spinach or tomatoes, or substituting gruyere, emmentaler, or gouda for the goat cheese. Or add some cooked bacon and mushrooms. Yum!

I promise, one of these days I'll post a couple recipes that don't have dairy in them!

All text and photographs © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley