Since macaroni and cheese wins as the most popular meal in my house now, I try to make it as healthy as possible without it being rejected. While I’ve experimented with various add-ins, this is the basic recipe I make at least once a week. This is what fills my biggest dairy pot and lasts for more than one meal. Cut the amounts in half if you just want one weeknight supper for a medium-sized family.
Two 500 gram bags of whole wheat pasta. I try to sneak a little nutrition into them when they’re not looking. My favorite shape for macaroni and cheese is fussili because the ridges grab the cheese. If you’re the type who thinks meal-time is a fun way to practice fine motor skills, as opposed to the “stop playing with your food!” type, use penne.
For the cheese, I used half full-fat (about 25%) grated yellow cheese and half 3% fat gevinah levanah, soft white cheese. My preferred brand of gevinah levanah is Strauss “Ski” because it contains a little cream and tastes the creamiest. If you don’t live in Israel, I suggest subbing low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt for the gevinah levanah.
1 kilogram whole (2.2 pounds) whole wheat pasta
250 grams (1 heaping cup) grated mozzeralla, gouda, or similar cheese
250 grams (1 heaping cup) low-fat, soft white cheese or Greek yogurt
1-2 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
2 tablespoons flour (for make-ahead method only)
2 methods of assembly:
- Boil the noodles according to package directions, rinse with cold water, and store in the fridge until you want to make macaroni and cheese, up to 5 days.
- Make the cheese sauce:
* Heat 2 cups of milk in a large pot. Don’t boil, or it will all disappear on you.
* Mix flour, salt, and pepper, and basil if using. Coat the grated cheese in flour mixture.
* Add cheese mixture to hot milk and stir with a wooden spoon or chopstick until it has melted, breaking up any clumps.
* Add soft white cheese and stir until a smooth white sauce has formed.
*Add pasta to the pot and mix until fully coated and warm. Add more milk if necessary.
* Season with basil, garlic powder, or more pepper. I add spices straight to the bowls, according to each child’s taste.
- Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain water by holding lid on pot and tilting. Do not rinse!
- With stove off, sprinkle hot pasta with salt and pepper. Add white cheese and mix well.
- Add 1 cup milk so the cheese doesn’t stick to the pot. Mix well.
- Add grated cheese and mix until evenly distributed and melted.
What’s you favorite macaroni and cheese recipe?