Sunday, August 16, 2009

Healthy Mac and Cheese

This is one of Owen's favorite meals (and mine too). In fact he had two large helpings tonight and ate every last crumb until he said he was done. I found the recipe originally from some friends of mine in Santa Barbara and have have made it a little different each time. Today turned out to be perfect, so this is the amended recipe I will stick to (for now). What's great about this one, is that the left overs keep for a few days (unless you eat it all before then of course), and it's a nice dish to reheat and serve without having to think about what you are going to give your hungry little one when you are out of ideas of what to make!

Healthy Mac and Cheese

3/4 Cup pureed raw carrots
1/2 Cup pureed raw cauliflower
1/2 of a large sweet potato pureed in a food processor
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 Cup white beans (cannelli)
3 Cups short whole wheat pasta (9 oz), (I used the corkscrew & alphabet pasta this time, but penne also works fine)
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (sometimes I add smoked Gouda, but didn't have any on hand today).
1 15 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes drained 1/2 cup broccoli finely chopped (if you have a toddler anyway!)
1 Tb. chopped tarragon
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 350

In small sauce pan, combine the carrots, cauliflower, sweet potato, orange juice and 1/3 cup of water. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderate heat until the vegetables are soft (about 30 mins). Transfer the vegetables to a food processor and add the white beans. Puree until smooth

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 Cup of the cooking water and drain the rest of the pasta. Return the water and pasta back to the pot and add the vegetable puree. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the pasta is coated with a thickened sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese and cook for 2-3 more minutes longer. Stir in the tarragon and season with salt and white pepper.

Transfer the pasta to a medium baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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