Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Noodle--Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a perenial favorite in my house. It can be made ahead of time and placed in a crockpot on low or in the oven. It can even be frozen for use at a later time or frozen in a foil pan to give to a friend who needs dinner at a moment's notice. If you can make this directly ahead of serving it the sauce is wonderfully creamy. If you make it ahead of time it develops a lovely crispy outside texture. I like it both ways.

1 lb bite-sized pasta, cooked with 1 Tbsp salt and a cup of pasta water reserved
1 Tbsp olive oil, heat over medium heat in a large saucepan
1/2 cup minced onion, add to the onion and cook, stirring frequently until golden
1/2 tsp salt, add with the onion
1/2 tsp curry powder, add with the onion
3 Tbsp olive oil, add to the tender onion and stir to combine
3 Tbsp flour, whisk into the oil/onion mixture and stir for a couple of minutes
3 cups milk, pour into the flour mixture while whisking and stir frequently until the sauce thickens
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, stir into the milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg, stir into the milk
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, remove the sauce from the heat and gradually stir in cheese

Stir the pasta into the cream sauce and serve immediately OR place in a greased baking dish or crock pot and top with 1 cup bread crumbs rubbed with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and bake at 350-degrees for 1/2 hour or on low for up to three hours.

The sauce is sufficiently thickened when you can draw a track through its coating on the back of a spoon.

VEGAN NOTES: Use soy milk and nut cheese (Soak 2 cups mixed, blanched nuts [my favorites are Brazils, cashews, and macadamias] in 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Blend or process nuts, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp paprika until the mixture is very smooth. Store in the refrigerator. Stir 1 cup of the nut cheese into the cream sauce that you have made with soy milk.

GLUTEN NOTES: Use 2 Tbsp corn starch in lieu of the flour. Use gluten free pasta and breadcrumbs.

© Katherine C. Otterstrom, July 2012

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