summer vegetable mac and cheese
Now, don’t freak out on me, but there’s very little butter in this mac and cheese. Also, it has vegetables in it.
Are you still here? I hope so, because this version of my favorite food ever is actually a pretty tasty way to sneak some nutrition into my cranky-toddler-diet. The sauce is a little less creamy than your normal mac and cheese–a little more custardy than usual–but it still packs a cheesy punch, with a bit of Dijon spice to make things interesting. And the veggies are still slightly crisp, nice and fresh. Especially if you, um, actually make it in the summer when you’re supposed to, rather than early fall.
Summer Vegetable Mac and Cheese
1 8-oz. package elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
1 cup chopped yellow squash
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups extra-sharp cheddar, grated [I used 2 cups and omitted ricotta]
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, grated [I used pepper jack and left out the cayenne]
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
3 roma tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons dry seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain, cover, and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and set aside.
3. Place a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the broccoli, squash, carrots, onion, and garlic. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. [I don’t know if it’s because my veggies were too chunky and not enough diced, but they were nowhere near tender after 4 to 5 minutes. I just waited to add the pasta to the boiling water until I’d added the veggies, and when the pasta was done, the veggies were mostly crisp-tender.] Remove the vegetables from the heat and stir in the macaroni. Set aside.
4. To make the sauce, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Pour over the macaroni mixture and add the cheddar, monterey jack, and ricotta. Gently stir to evenly coat. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. [Unless you refuse to eat raw eggs. In which case, how on earth do you resist eating hunks of cookie dough?]
5. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with tomatoes and sprinkle the breadcrumbs and Parmesan over the top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving warm.
Source: Ezra Pound Cake