Healthier Mac and Cheese with leeks and ArtichokesPosted: September 20, 2011
Still fall-like out so it’s time to make mac and cheese. I got this recipe from thekitchn.com and tweaked it. I first made it for the husband at the beginning of the year when I went back to eating dairy and gluten and I liked the lo-fat component to this one. Also I wanted to fool the husband with this. It uses less cheese, and skim milk with tofu as a binder. And it is good. He was fooled and it is now on rotation.
For some reason it calls for 8 oz of silken tofu it is sold in 16 oz quantities. What am i going to do with a half package of silken tofu? Yeah, toss it. That is just dumb. I don’t make smoothies or anything. So. Yeah.
After making it once, I decided to start doubling the Recipe of sauce so I would not waste and it saves some time. The sauce will keep for a week and a half for sure so you can quick come home and make it again the next time.
What I used:
16 oz silken tofu. Drained
12 oz shredded cheese. I normally use cheddar. Get good cheddar, not one with food coloring or processing. This time I used 7 oz cheddar and 5 oz natural smoked Gouda.
5 cups skim milk
A couple teaspoons smoked hot paprika
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 level real measure teaspoons of cornstarch
2 12 oz tins of artichoke hearts in water. Not the kind in oil or marinade. I keep these unhand normally.
1 sliced cleaned leek
1 lb of small pasta, spirals or large shells work. I have these trumpet shaped ones I like.
What I did:
This is a good after work recipe because whale there is some work, it is fairly forgiving in terms of timing so you can chop and stuff as you go along.
Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta and add salt.
Dump the drained tofu in a saucepan. I used a 3 qt one. Turn on the heat and start getting everything ready. I had the husband shred the cheese.
Use a whisk on the tofu. Add the milk and paprika and pepper and mustard. Let it come to a slight simmer. Whisk it occasionally:
Meanwhile, drain the artichoke hearts into whatever you are going to use to drain the pasta to save a dirty dish. and take a knife to the colander and slice up the artichokes. Leave them in the colander.
At this point the milk was ready for the cheese. The husband an I switched places and I cut the leeks. Mine was huge. Like the size of 2 so I just cut it all and put away the remained for use later:
Put the cornstarch into the milk. Yep. All at once and you don’t have to dilute it in water. It won’t curdle and gross up. Whisk in the cheese until it is all melted. Just leave it on low and whisk every once in a while. Or turn it off and put away half. It will fill a quart plastic container. If you are afraid of putting away too much just leave the lid off so you can add more if needed. I have not had this issue.
Water is boiling. Add the pasta. Just cook it until it is barely done and still kinda hard. For reference, I cooked mine for 6 min and it called for 8-10 min:
Err on the uncooked side. The sauce is fairly wet and it will go on the oven to cook for 45 min.
Oil your pan by putting oil in it and just take a paper towel and wipe it all over to coat. The pan should be on the stove so it is warm. This will make it easier. I just used my 7 qt Dutch oven.
Pasta is done. Drain it into the colander over the artichokes. Dump it into the oiled pan. Add the leeks and the cheese sauce and stir it around. Taste it. Taste good? Good. Add pepper if needed. It will not need salt. There is a ton in the cheese!
Toss some breadcrumbs on the top. Like a handful. I make mine with wheat bread and a handful of dried cepes or morels and keep on hand in the freezer. Drizzle with very little olive oil and a tablespoon of parmasan cheese. I forgot the parm and had to open the oven to add. Doh!:
Cook at 375 for 45-50 min. You preheated right?