I think finding recipes that adults and children find yummy is difficult, at best, but here’s a recipe the entire family is sure to enjoy. I wish that I could claim it as my own but I can’t. Here’s to Melissa Clark’s creativity in the kitchen.
Carroty Mac and Cheese
Epicurious | October 2011
photo by Color photography by Andrew Scrivani
Makes 6 servings
It’s a straightforward recipe that comes together without much fuss, other than having to grate some carrots. But to make up for that, I’ve eliminated the need to make a cheese sauce on the top of the stove. Instead, I toss the hot pasta with grated cheddar, butter, sour cream for creaminess, and eggs to hold it all together. The grated carrots get boiled along with the pasta, so cooking them isn’t an extra step. And the tiny orange shreds look so much like the cheddar that your kids might not even notice they are there. Dahlia certainly hasn’t, and while I’ve never lied to her about their inclusion, I might have left out the word carrot in the dish description—accidentally, of course.
- 2 cups whole wheat macaroni
- 2 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrot (about 8 small)
- 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Arrange a rack in the top third of the oven.
2. Cook macaroni according to package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water; add carrot 3 minutes before pasta is finished cooking; drain well.
3. While pasta is hot, stir in all but 1/2 cup of the cheddar and the butter. In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, salt, mustard powder, and pepper. Fold mixture into the pasta.
4. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and the parmesan over the top. Bake until the casserole is firm to the touch and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
What Else? •If you’re grating your cheddar cheese in the food processor, you don’t have to wash out the machine before grating the carrots. Or vice versa.
•This is one of those macaroni and cheeses with an eggy custard base that puffs as it cooks, and is cut into squares to serve, like a casserole, as opposed to that gooey, creamy, stove-top béchamel sauce version. I know that some people have strong opinions about proper mac and cheese (I’m an equal opportunist myself), but thought I’d let you know what you’re getting.
•Feed this dish to the kids as is; grown-ups should indulge with a squirt of fiery Sriracha or other hot sauce all over the top.
•You can vary the cheese to give this rather plain (if tasty) dish more personality. Gruyère, aged Cheddar, pecorino, and aged Gouda will all add a sophisticated allure that will raise it above mere kids’ food.
From COOK THIS NOW by Melissa Clark. Copyright (C) 2010 Melissa Clark, Inc. Color photography by Andrew Scrivani. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.