Sunday, March 26, 2017

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This is a recipe that I found on the New York Times cooking website and have adapted somewhat.  In this case it is not a healthier dish than the original but it is delicious and easy!

2 tablespoons butter (divided)
1 cup full fat ricotta cheese
2 cups 1/2 and 1/2
1/4 pound cream cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Pinch cayenne (these are both optional--I actually forgot them)
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used Hook's white cheddar)
1/2 pound elbow macaroni (I used 2 different whole wheat pastas and it came out fine)
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Use 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9 inch square baking pan.  In a blender, puree ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 and 1/2, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, and pepper.  In a large bowl, combine all but 1/4 cup of the grated cheese, the liquid mixture and uncooked pasta.  Pour into the prepared pan.  Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for a few hours.

When ready to eat, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake covered pasta for 30 minutes.  Uncover and top with a mixture of reserved cheese, bread crumbs and butter.  Bake for an additional 30 minutes.  At this point it should be brown and bubbly.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

I'm sure you could use other cheeses in this dish.  A few of the reviewers of the original recipe suggested Velveeta which I would not use, but I think any flavorful natural cheese would be fine.

Adapted from NY Times.com, recipe by Julia Moskin


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