photography by Mallory Boggs (our 9 yr. old)
This recipe is definitely different, but was inspired by the Neely's from the Food Network.
Macaroni and Cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1 pound elbow pasta
2 small shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (we use unbleached organic)
4 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3- 3 1/2 cups of sharp white cheddar cheese (reserve a little to sprinkle on top)
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley flakes (can also use dried if you don't have fresh)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and reserve.
Saute shallots in 4 tablespoons of butter in large pan on medium heat until translucent (about 6-8 minutes). Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and flour and stir for a couple of minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking away all lumps. Add paprika and cayenne. Bring mixture up to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Let mixture thicken up a bit (about 5 minutes). Combine cheese, about a cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Pour over pasta. Mix well and top with a little grated cheese and chopped parsley. Bake for 25 minutes and rest for 10. Your family will love you and so will your stomach!
How do I justify this as a "healthy" dish? We use whole grain pasta. That would be with whole wheat or brown rice. We also cook with real fats, such as real butter and whole milk. We use organic raw milk and organic raw cheeses. . Obviously it will no longer be raw after so much heat and cooking time. But, I don't have to worry about the added hormones or steroids that you find in regular milk. This is a great side dish with lots of calcium and acts as a great "filler" for all the little stomachs that we feed. We do limit how much they can eat at one sitting and so I split this recipe into two dishes and we have it with two separate meals.
p.s. I thought my kids and Keith would dislike the addition of the shallots (or a mild onion) and garlic, but with chopping finely they never got a chunk in their mouth and only noticed the flavor. They all loved it and Keith asked that I make it this way every time.