January 16, 2013

Reduced-Fat Macaroni & Cheese

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE macaroni and cheese - sometimes I think it may be boarding on an unhealthy addiction. I love to try new recipes, experiment and of course eat it! (And share the leftovers with my office-mates.) I try to make my macaroni and cheese as "healthy" as possible; no heavy cream or half and half - I usually use skim milk and/or chicken broth and thicken the sauce with a flour and magarine roux. So when I found a recipe that claimed to reduce the fat but kept the creaminess I had to give it a try. The recipe also uses ricotta and parmesan cheese which is new to me (I usually use sharp cheddar).  So here we go!
Reduced-Fat Macaroni and Cheese
(Adapted from Cook's Country)

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
(optional - use reduced fat cheese)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 lb pasta
(the originial recipe called for 1/2 lb of pasta but in my option the sauce to pasta ratio would have been way off)
3 tablespoons margarine
4.5 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
(I also added a couple tablespoons of spicy mustard to amp up the tanginess)
2.5 cups skim milk
Cook the pasta and set aside - preheat oven to 400 degrees - in a large sauce pan melt the margarine - once melted add the mustard powder and flour - whisk until combined and bubbly - add the milk and turn up the heat until the sauce begins to slightly boil - thicken until it is about the consistency of heavy cream - reduce heat and add the cheddar, parmesan and ricotta cheeses, mix until smooth - combine the pasta and cheese sauce - place in a greased 8 x 8 or 9 x 13 pan - bake at 400 degrees for approximately 25 - 30 minutes.

This recipe definitely produced some creamy macaroni and cheese!  The ricotta was a big hit with my coworkers but to me the dish lacked some of the spicy and tanginess that I have grown accustomed to with my 'go to' mac and cheese recipe.  Using shredded parmesan was also a good choice - I could definitely taste it and it lent a unique flavor to the dish.  Regardless - it's mac and cheese and who doesn't love pasta smoothered in a cheese sauce?!  I give this recipe a solid 6 out of 10, it didn't blow me away but is definitely something I would make again!

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