July 18, 2013

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Mac & Cheese

We all know that I love mac and cheese, I have blogged about the dish on various occasions; but despite my love for the mac and cheese I am always looking for more 'healthy' recipes and this one brings both the spice and the veggies!  I first noticed this recipe on the blog The Comfort of Cooking and knew I had to give it a try.
Spicy Roasted Vegetable Mac & Cheese
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 small yellow squash, quartered and diced
10 baby carrots, sliced thinly
2 cups pasta (whole wheat or otherwise)
1/4 cup butter, margarine or olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced (approx. 1 tsp)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups (8 oz.) sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees ~ bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta ~ while the pasta is boiling chop the red and green peppers, squash, broccoli and carrots ~ once chopped tossed the veggies with a little olive oil ~ spray a large or aluminum foil covered baking sheet ~ place the veggies on the baking sheet, put in the oven and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until veggies are softened ~ once baked remove from sheet and set aside ~ in the meantime cook the pasta until al dente and then drain.

Meanwhile in a medium saucepan melt the butter/margarin over medium heat ~ once hot add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds ~ whisk in the flour and allow to cook for approximately 1 minute ~ gradually mix in the milk and chicken broth, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened ~ once thickened remove from heat, add the cheese and allow to melt ~ add the red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper ~ once all ingredients are well combined add the vegetables and pasta ~ place the mixture in a large, greased casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes (or sprinkle with 1/4 cup bread crumbs and place under broiler for 3 - 4 minutes of until top is golden brown) ~ Enjoy!

This dish was AWESOME but it was SPICY, even for me who likes spice so if you want to bring down the heat a little I would reduce the crushed red pepper and cayenne to 1/4 tsp.  All the veggies definitely balanced out the pasta and cheese sauce, so even though you're eating comfort food it still feels somewhat healthy.

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