Lightened up, Baked Macaroni and Cheese
I love macaroni and cheese; it’s comforting and no matter how crappy your day was, it makes you feel whole inside. Wow, that’s a tall order! I’m totally picturing that commercial from the ‘80s when the guy comes home from work at night in a rain storm with the flu and his dog shows up with medicine around his collar (I’m officially old).
1 tbsp butter
I small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 500 g tub fat free cottage cheese (pureed in a food processor or blender)
1 375 g box whole wheat macaroni
Broccoli, broken into florets
1 Cup of the starchy pasta water reserved before straining the pasta
1 Cup old cheddar, divided
2 tbsp unseasoned breadcrumbs
– Preheat your oven to 375.
– Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta; season it liberally with salt (the idea is to have the water taste like the sea).
– Cook the pasta for half the amount of time the box calls for; mine called for 8 minutes so I cooked the macaroni for 4 minutes.
– Add the broccoli florets to the pasta water at the same time you add the macaroni.
– When you have added the pasta and broccoli to the boiling water start building your sauce:
– In a large skillet over high heat, add the butter, when its melted add the onion and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent; about 5-7 minutes.
– The pasta and broccoli should be ready to be strained about now, remember to reserve a cup of the starchy cooking water. Just let the pasta and broccoli sit in the strainer/colander until you’re ready to add it to the sauce.
– Add the flour to the skillet and sauté for at least a minute (this gets rid of the raw flour flavour; say that 5 times fast!).
– Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, careful not to let it burn.
– Turn the heat to high and whisk in the wine, stirring constantly so your sauce doesn’t develop any lumps.
– Add the starchy cooking water to the skillet.
– Add the Dijon mustard.
– Drop the heat to low and add the pureed cottage cheese.
– Stir in a ½ cup of the cheddar cheese.
– Season the sauce liberally with salt and pepper, the sauce is going to taste fine as is but the pasta absorbs a lot of the flavour as it’s baking in the oven.
– Mix in the pasta and broccoli.
– Transfer the mac and cheese to a large, greased casserole dish (9×13); I used a cooking spray to grease the casserole dish.
– Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and then top the cheese with the plain breadcrumbs (trust me, it works!).
– Bake for 40 minute and then brown the mac and cheese under the broiler for about 2 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned.
– Let the dish stand for 10 minutes before serving.
- Feel free to pile in any veggies you like, just cook them first so they can give off their water out of the mac and cheese!
- Use any strong cheese; I had old cheddar on hand; just watch the salt content!
- If you don’t want to use wine you can use any stock, or even water in its place.