Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vegie Mac N Cheese

A great comfort food like Mac N Cheese can also benefit from the addition of vegetables. I like to add Cauliflower and Broccoli and some shredded carrots.  You could also add some peas and left over baked veggies too. I do recommend cooking the raw veggies for a few minutes and then shocking them in ice water before you add to the dish.

A good basic Bechemel Sauce will help you create a wonderful dish. I will add some finely diced shallots to the butter before I add the flour when making this.  They add a great layer of flavor. Once the sauce is thickened add your cheese.  Try using a combination of cheeses for a change.  I like Sharp Cheddar with Asiago and Parmesan, or Monterrey Jack.  I have use Gouda, Cheddar and Fontina.  Use what you like.  Once the sauce is done add it to the cooked pasta, and then add the veggies. Top with the usual bread crumbs and bake.  This is good enough to serve a main entree.  Here are some tips to help you.

1. Don't over cook the pasta. It needs to be aldente,  Once you drain the pasta, put it in some cold water to stop the cooking while you finish the rest of the recipe.  Drain the cold water and let it sit for a minute or two so that the water finishes draining.

2. Grate your own cheese.  If you buy cheese from the store already grated, it has been coated with a substance to keep those strands of cheese from sticking together.  That will keep them from melting in the same way.  In my opinion that does not help when making a sauce. Besides, it easy to do and you will save money.

3.If your Cauliflower has some dark spots you can soak over night in some salt water.  That will remove most and make the Cauliflower whiter. It does not add any salt especially if you rinse it.

4. Always use the best cheese, pasta and veggies. You will have a better dish and save money in the long run.