Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One-Dish Meals: Sneaky Mac'n'Cheesy

Like most parents out there, I'm always searching for tasty recipes that the family loves to eat but are still healthy. Last week I needed a quick one-dish meal that I could whip up with ingredients I had on hand, and this is what I came up with. By the way, what makes it "sneaky" is that I added 2 shredded zucchinis to the cheese mixture. My husband used to like zucchini until we got it Every.Single.Week in our CSA basket last week, and he got completely sick of it.  

When I made this recipe, I didn't tell him until he had finished eating (and was raving about the recipe!) that it had zucchini in it.  It's those little things that make me happy ;)

Sneaky Mac'n'Cheesy

1 box short pasta -- I used Barilla Picollini Wagon Wheels because (shocker!) I had a coupon.
1-2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. salted butter
2 cups milk
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups white cheddar, shredded
1-2 cups shredded zucchini (or other vegetable puree)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
Salt & Pepper

1. Boil water, and cook pasta according to directions on box. Reserve 1-2 cups of pasta water after it has cooked. Drain and set aside.
2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan and whisk in flour, creating a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until thoroughly combined.
3. Add the milk to the roux mixture, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes until it starts bubbling and thickening. It should not be at a full rolling boil, though.
4. Add the ricotta and cheddar cheese to the mix, stirring, until it is all blended and combined, about3-5 minutes. Then add zucchini shreds, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 ladleful of the starchy cooking water. Remove from heat.
5. Combine the cheese mixture and the cooked pasta in a 9x11 baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan, then sprinkle Panko on top.
6. Cook for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Serve warm. Top with fresh scallions or parsley.



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