"Piehole" in Midwestern means "mouth," as in "Shut your piehole." Preferably we shut it on some tasty home cooking. We love to grow, market, buy, cook, bake and grill so we can feed our faces, chow down, pig out, scarf & whatnot. I'm a born Midwestern home cook posting foods and recipes that show up in front of me, because like all Midwesterners I eat what's put in front of me. Pull up a chair. What can I get you?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Truly Delicious Lower-Fat Mac and Cheese: Recipe

I didn't think this recipe would be easy and company-good, but it is, with the crunch and goo we love. Baked mac and cheese/That won't clog my arteries/ is all I want for the holidays. From Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites (1996). Wish I'd made it then, but better now than never.

Macaroni and Cheese (serves 4 generously)

1-1/2 cups 1% milkfat cottage cheese
1-1/2 cups skim milk or buttermilk
1 teaspoon dried mustard or 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
pinch of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated onion (you do need it, for the savor)
1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 pound uncooked elbow macaroni
2 Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs (Piehole used "Panko" crumbs (pictured), now readily available at the supermarket)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9- or 10-inch square baking pan with a light coating of cooking spray or oil.

In a blender, combine the cottage cheese, skim mik or buttermilk, mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper and puree until smooth. In a large bowl combine the pureed mixture with the onions, Cheddar cheese and uncooked macaroni. Stir well. Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into the baking pan. Combine the grated Parmesan or Romano cheese with the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top. (And after that, the Piehole scatters a few butter curls on the top, for a nice browned top.)

Bake about 45 minutes until the top is browned and the center is firm. Per 10-ounce serving (that's a lot of mac and cheese!), 471 calories, 38 mg cholesterol.

Trying to reduce white-flour carbohydrates, I used brown-rice pasta elbows, precooking them; they worked great. Brown-rice pasta can take a lot of overcooking. And Panko breadcrumbs stay crisp and crusty.

Thank you, Moosewood.

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