…This time inspired by the celebrity cookbook author I disparaged yesterday. Conclusion 2: It turns out she really can cook. I just made this, tasted a bite, and smiled. Yum.
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food; it reminds me of childhood and cozy winter nights. I had an irksome morning with lots of school work and some unpleasant news, and I knew it was time to get to the kitchen to make food for people I like. Some people paint or write when they’re upset. I search the fridge and cupboards for ingredients I can mix together to make something delicious. Then I adorn an apron, put on some loud music, mix and whisk and saute, and often end up with flour on my face.
I altered the recipe slightly because I’ve never really liked nutmeg in macaroni and cheese dishes. (If you like it, add a pinch to the cheeses as they melt.) Instead, I prefer the very subtle taste of dijon mustard, which has been the secret ingredient in the best macaroni and cheeses I’ve ever tried. I also used whole wheat pasta and low-fat cheeses to up the health ante just a tad.
I’ve never tried mascarpone in mac ‘n cheese before, and it’s delicious! Creamy without being overly rich. Plus, this recipe takes less time than others because it doesn’t call for making a roux (butter + flour + milk + lots of whisking) for the base of the sauce. I think this will delight kids and adults alike. Enjoy! lv, molly
Macaroni + Cheese w/ Mascarpone + Parmesan
3/4 pound elbow macaroni (you can sub whole wheat)
8 ounces mascarpone (low-fat if you can find it)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 C tightly packed grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping
1/2 C low-fat milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C plain bread crumbs
2 Tbl unsalted butter (or a few spritzes of canola spray)
For variation add one of the following:
1 cup basic tomato sauce
1 ball fresh mozzarella, cubed
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup taleggio cheese,broken into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and turn it on to convection if that’s a possibility. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni for 2 minutes less than indicated on the package.
Meanwhile, stir together the mascarpone and 1 cup of Parmesan in a small saucepan over a medium flame until the cheeses melt together, about 2 minutes. Stir in the milk, dijon, and salt and pepper to taste and keep the sauce warm over a low flame.
Drain the pasta and combine it with the sauce.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan and the bread crumbs.
Put the macaroni in a large baking dish; scatter the bread crumb topping over it; dot it with the butter; and bake it for 15 minutes. Serve with a simple green salad.
Image via here. Not my own but representative of how this dish looks!