Oh. My. God. This recipe is soooo good and soooo easy. It truly is quick gourmet food. This would be a great way to easily impress a bunch of people. Present it with a French accent and REALLY impress them.
“For zee entree – macaroni et fromage.”
If you ever make mac and cheese at home, you’ll never understand why people buy the boxed stuff. It is so easy. Step 1. Boil some pasta. Step 2. Make a roux. (fancy French word) 3. Add cheese and pour over pasta. Voila! It’s that easy. And then you can impress people that you know the word roux. Don’t let the French words intimidate you. A roux is just some fat (think oil and butter) heated up and whisked with flour. That’s it! It helps make your milk and cheese the thick, creamy consistency that comes to mind when we think of macaroni and cheese. And homemade is far superior to the powdered junk.
This recipe isn’t exactly healthy, but the fact that half of the pasta is subbed out for vegetables not only makes you feel *less* guilty, but adds a nice added layer of texture. Plus, it uses whole wheat pasta and olive oil instead of butter. So while it still tastes incredibly rich and delicious it is slightly better for you than most mac and cheese.
Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking
1 red pepper, diced (I used yellow, but I would use red for color)
1 zucchini, quartered and diced
2 cups whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Truffle Cheddar (I use Hook’s. If you can get it, you should.)
1/2 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs
Heat oven to 400 degrees (Farenheit). Put vegetables in a pan large enough to hold the veggies plus the pasta cooked. With just the vegetables in the pan, drizzle with some olive oil. Add thyme in addition to salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
While vegetables are roasting, boil a large pot of water. Add 2 cups of pasta and cook until al dente. Strain.
In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of oil in the pan, add garlic and cook until fragrant (only a minute). Add flour and whisk vigorously. This will thicken quite fast; you only need to cook for a minute. Gradually whisk in milk, 1/2 cup at a time. Continue to whisk once all the milk is added until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese. (It is important to do this off of the heat so it doesn’t scorch.)
Pour the cooked pasta into the dish with roasted vegetables and mix. Pour cheese mixture on top. Top with breadcrumbs and place under broiler in your oven for approximately 4-5 minutes.
Let cool for 8-10 minutes before serving.