LC Getting By With A Little Help From Your Friends Note
There’s not always room in a recipe for all the tricks and tactics that a cookbook author has come to learn in making a recipe over and over and over again. Fortunately, cookbook author and recipe conjurer Melissa Clark also considers herself a friend to readers, so she has has these additional tricks, tactics, and tips to share:
–This is one of those macaroni and cheeses with an eggy custard base that puffs as it cooks and is cut into squares, like a casserole, as opposed to that gooey, creamy, stove-top béchamel sauce version. I know some people have strong opinions about what constitutes a proper mac and cheese–I’m an equal opportunist myself, but thought I’d let you know what you’re getting yourself into before starting the recipe.
–If grating the Cheddar cheese in a food processor, you don’t need to clean it before grating the carrots–or vice versa.
–You can vary the cheese to give this rather plain (if tasty) dish more personality. Gruyère, aged Cheddar, pecorino, and aged Gouda will all add a sophisticated allure that will raise it above mere kids’ food.
Mac and Cheese with Carrots
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H
- Serves 6
Preheat the oven to 400° F (204°C). Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
Cook the macaroni according to package instructions, adding the grated carrots about 3 minutes before the pasta is due to be done. Drain the pasta and carrots in a colander.
Dump the hot pasta and carrots back into the pot and stir in 2 1/2 cups of the Cheddar and all of the butter. In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, salt, mustard powder, and pepper, and then fold this mixture into the pasta. Scrape the cheesy pasta into the prepared dish and sprinkle with the remaining Cheddar and the Parmesan.
Bake the carroty mac and cheese casserole until it’s firm to the touch and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes, then slice or scoop it straight from the baking dish.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Like the recipe writer, I am always open to trying different types of mac and cheese — and I liked the idea of “hiding” a vegetable in the dish for kids. But picky children aside, my fiancé and I loved this recipe as well! It was very easy to put together and very tasty. I always try to use whole-wheat pastas when available, so that is another good thing about the recipe —substituting whole-wheat pasta in a kid-friendly dish. Kids would never know it was better for them! I used a nice baby Swiss cheese instead of sharp Cheddar. I like the suggestion of trying the dish with aged Gouda; I bet that is delicious as well. This was a great recipe that I would like to try next time with a different ‘hidden’ vegetable…maybe peas?
I admit that I was initially skeptical of this recipe, for the simple reason that the idea of grated carrots in mac ‘n’ cheese sounded kind of, well, gross, and I’ve had lackluster experiences in the past with whole-wheat pasta. But! My skepticism started to dissipate when the smell of baking cheese started emanating from the oven, and then vanished completely with my first bite of the finished product. In short, it’s just delicious. Once out of the oven, its lifespan was about 20 minutes. The pasta’s wholesomeness is a welcome contrast to the decadence of the cheese, and the slight nuttiness of the whole wheat works well with the saltiness of the cheese and slight sweetness of the carrots. I’m also now a big fan of using this egg/sour cream-based sauce instead of a béchamel — it’s lighter but still creamy. As a side note, I didn’t have any sour cream, so I substituted some plain goat’s milk yogurt, which worked very well. I also used about one cup more pasta than called for, because the given amount seemed a bit skimpy. Everything still fit into my eight-inch pan, and there was plenty of cheese and sauce to go around. Cheese-wise, I used a blend of raclette, Parmesan, and a bit of Gruyère I had lying around and needed to finish.