Annabelle’s Mac N’ Cheese
Here it is. Finally. The recipe many moms (and their adorable toddlers) have been waiting for. Mac N Cheese made better. It’s fantastic and of course has some extra veggies hidden in it. I’ve made 2 different versions and Annabelle has liked both of them, but she’s never had mac n cheese from a box so she doesn’t know what mac n cheese really tastes like – so she’s easy. The real test is if other moms and their kids like it, brown rice pasta and all. I love having go-to recipes that I can make when we have company that I know the other kids will enjoy too.
So I put it to the test by making it for a potluck dinner play-date and it was a hit so I’ve promised to post the recipe, and it’s taken me forever to get around to it because of the moving and the less than reliable internet access that we have right now. But it’s here!
I hate to say it’s not entirely my creation, I adapted it from Tyler Florences cookbook Fresh Start which really is a must have if you have babies, his recipes are all fabulous. The Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese in his book is a great starting point put it needed a little more umph, after all even the 2 year old likes truffle oil drizzled over her pasta. So I added a few things. I’ve also made this using a head of cauliflower instead of the butternut squash and it’s also great, maybe add another ½ cup of cheese.
If you don’t do grains you can always make this with zucchini noodles or even chop and roast cauliflower and make the butternut squash version sauce and drizzle it over the roasted cauliflower, pretty delicious either way.
1 bag Tinkyada brown rice pasta (Annabelle likes the bunny shaped ones best)
1 whole Butternut squash (or 1 head of cauliflower)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
¼ cup organic, grass-fed whole milk
½ – 1 tsp salt, depending on taste
1/2 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 ½ cups Tillamook extra sharp cheddar
¼ cup parmesan cheese (or pecorino cheese if you are into sharp, salty delicious cheese)
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with a little olive oil and let it roast for about 30-40 minutes. (Don’t take the easy way out and boil it, the roasting really makes a difference in the flavor profile – same for the cauliflower).
- Cook your pasta as you normally would, don’t forget to salt the water and make sure it doesn’t get too mushy because it’s going to go back to cook in the oven for a bit. When it’s done run it under cold water so it stops cooking.
- Scoop out the butternut squash into a food processor and add butter, salt, onion and garlic powder, 1 cup of cheddar cheese and just a little bit of the milk. Only add as much milk as you need to make it creamy, be very careful not to make it too runny.
- Toss together the cream sauce and the pasta and pour it into a glass casserole dish.
- Top with the rest of the cheddar cheese and the parmesan/pecorino cheese.
- Put it back in the oven until it’s heated through and the cheese is melted.
Now it’s your turn to share, what are your go-to meals when you have company (with kids!) coming over?