Saturday, July 24, 2010

sweet potato mac & cheese

i have a few food obsessions--raspberry lemon scones, oatmeal walnut chocolate chip cookies, spiced carrot muffins, purple potato frittatas, watercress sandwiches, tempeh bacon, aaaaand cheese. macaroni and cheese to wit. and this, my dears, is no ordinary variation on the classic casserole. this is IT. the macaroni and cheese i'd walk down the aisle with. it's smoky, it's sweet, crunchy and creamy, indulgent but healthy (not that it's bathing suit season or anything).

i should point out to my vegan friends that the key ingredient here is the sweet potato, not the cheese. you can substitute and modify any of the cheeses, but i really wouldn't lose the sweet potato (maybe butternut squash, but i'm not a big fan). i have been known in the past to jokingly describe my cooking as "50% vegan", which is ridiculous i know. but part of why i've been hesitant to post this recipe is precisely because it's a non-vegan dish inspired by the vegan version that calls for squash, sweet potato, or carrot to sweeten (and color) the cheese sauce. this sauce is healthy in the same way (no butter and plenty of veggies) and most of the cheese ends up on the top (slightly brown and crispy).

sweet potato mac & cheese

1-2 white-flesh sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup vegetable broth
1.5 cups plain (unsweetened) soymilk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of ground cayenne or chipotle pepper
1 lb. macaroni noodles
about 4 oz. grated smoked gouda
about 1 oz. finely grated parmesan
about 2 oz. grated sharp white cheddar
handful of arugula, coarsely chopped
1 slice of bread, coarsely chopped (for breadcrumbs)
1 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Bring milk and broth to a boil; add potatoes. Simmer about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and add the macaroni. Cook according to package directions (about 8 min). Puree sauce with stick blender until smooth. Add nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir in all of the gouda cheese and half of the parmesan. Then toss macaroni and arugula with the sauce before added to greased baking dish. Top with the cheddar and remaining parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned. Add breadcrumbs immediately before serving. To prepare breadcrumbs, broil the pieces of bread with olive oil and salt/pepper for 1-2 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. All your stuff looks so delicious. I'm going to try this one night this week.
    ...what are "white-flesh" sweet potatoes?