I have a confession to make…I grew up on Kraft Dinner. There was plenty of vegetables and real food lovin’ at home but from time to time, I loved my KD. I loved the very orange-yness of it, which I would make extra creamy with lots of butter. Amazing how I never wondered why milk was white but cheese was orange!
So the first time I tasted homemade mac and cheese, it was pretty underwhelming. Nature can have a hard time pushing the manufactured flavour buttons that processed foods set off in your tastebuds. If you just put a bit of cheese in a white sauce and call it mac and cheese, it will taste more like mac and white sauce. Not exactly worth the calories!
In my university years, my tastes became more sophisticated and I started eating Annie’s macaroni and cheese. Somehow it never occurred to me to make my own until a few years ago. I have tried several recipes but never found one that exactly suited my tastes. Since I can’t leave well enough alone, this recipe of course has beans and extra veggies so I can think of it as a ‘real meal’. Let’s just say that this one falls into the ‘sometimes foods’ category. Enjoy it with something nice and green, after a long, rainy day at the park (or the pumpkin patch!).
Mac and Cheese and More
Adapted from Spilling the Beans by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan
250g macaroni, I used Tinkyada Brown Rice macaroni
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup white wine or water
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups sharp white cheddar, I used L’Ancetre raw milk cheddar.
1/2 tsp salt
385ml can of white beans such as navy or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 head of cauliflower, florets crumbled with a knife and stalks cut into 1/2 cm cubes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions, undercooking by 1-2 minutes. Add cauliflower stems to pasta 1 minute before its done. Drain, rinse and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook, whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Whisk in milk, white wine and mustard. Add garlic and rosemary. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, whisking the entire time, letting the sauce thicken. Turn off heat and stir in cheese until melted then add salt.
Place pasta, cauliflower and beans in a 9×13 baking dish and pour sauce over it and mix through. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy.