Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mac ‘n Cheese ‘n Peas

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 to 55 minutes

8 ounces uncooked whole wheat macaroni, about 2 cups
½ cup butter (1 stick), divided (half for the sauce and half for the topping)
1 small white or yellow onion, peeled and minced, about 2 tablespoons
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated, about 3 cups (reserve 1 cup for topping)
½ cup sour cream
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
4 slices white sandwich bread, pulsed into crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray the bottom and sides of an 11" x 7" x 2" baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Stir in the flour, mustard and paprika. Pour in the milk and season with salt and pepper. Stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the grated cheese.

Place the macaroni into the baking dish. Pour in the cheese sauce. Stir in the sour cream and peas. Top with the remaining cheese.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a bowl in the microwave oven (or in a pan on the stove top). Stir in the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Scatter the buttered crumbs over the cheese and pasta. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Alternatively, cool the casserole to room temperature. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and cover with aluminum foil. Place into the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to serve, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator or in a sink with chilled water. Bake as directed above.


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