Friday, May 3, 2013

Mac and Cheese (with veggies)

I have always loved macaroni and cheese. . .not the stuff that starts in powdered form, but the real the real stuff. I don't know why it then took me so long to think to add vegetables in it,it's so obvious and a great way to turn a side dish into a robust entree. Over the last couple months I have made 4 - 5 different types of macaroni and cheese with a variety of vegetables and cheeses. Largely, the variety of cheese has been based on what I have on hand that particular day. Today however,  spent some time with the cheese expert at the Murray's counter at Kroger and ultimately settled on a mix of Dutch Gouda Block and Collier's Welsh Cheddar, I then used a sparse amount of parm for the topping. The right cheese combination definitely makes a huge difference.

By the way, has anyone else noticed that Kroger isn't giving out stickers anymore? It's quite annoying, the kiddies love getting stickers at the checkout counter and gave the little people something to look forward to when going to Kroger. We do most of our shopping at either Kroger or Whole Foods, I tend to have better luck with cheese from Kroger though (the ones with the Murray's counters), for some reason I find my cheese from Whole Foods turns moldy really fast on a consistent basis, I know we have to travel a ways to get there, but the rest of our dairy products always survive the drive. Anyway. . .back to Mac and Cheese!

 What you'll need:

3 TBSP butter
1/4 cup Whole Wheat flour (or AP if you prefer)
3 1/2 cup whole milk
4 oz Gouda (I used the Dutch Gouda Block)
4 oz white cheddar (I used Collier's Welsh Cheddar)
2 TBSP parm
1 cup bread crumbs
Olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced and halved
16 oz Mushrooms, chopped
5 Sun dried tomatoes, sliced
6 oz fresh spinach
1 lb rotini pasta, cooked, al dente

Start my heating a large pan over a medium heat, add the butter and melt. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour to make a rouxe. Continue to heat for 3 minutes. Add your milk and whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes.

While the milk mixture simmers, roast the mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil and salt to taste for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta per instructions on the packaging.

And further meanwhile, saute the onions until golden brown, remove from heat and spread across the bottom of a rectangular baking dish.

Once the pasta and mushrooms are done, drain the pasta and add the mushroom, spinach and sun dried tomatoes to the pasta and stir to combine. Once combined, add to the baking dish with the onions.

After the milk has thickened, add the Gouda and cheddar, stir until melted, add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta mixture, spreading it evenly. Then top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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