At any given time, I have at least four types of cheese in my fridge. Often I wind up with a few ounces left of each. This time I decided to use my leftovers to make a more adult version of my traditional mac and cheese. You could do this with virtually any type of cheese, so long as you wind up cumulatively with about 16 ounces total. Of course I loaded this up with veggies to make myself feel better about all the cheese. And I added in some chicken sausage to make hubby happy. The end result was a fabulous, rich, creamy mac and cheese that will make you want to come back for seconds. Of course I have to share this with Ruth’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted this week by Cynthia of Kitchen Slave.
- 4.5 oz of grueyere
- 4.25 oz. cheddar
- 4.5 oz. of monterey jack
- 3 oz. swiss
- 1.5 cups of skim milk
- 1 cup fat free half and half
- 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 heaping teaspoons dried mustard
- 3 chicken sausages (we used mozzarella and roasted garlic), sliced thin
- 1/2 cup peas (thawed)
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
- 4 oz. mushrooms
- 1/2 cup diced asparagus
- 6 oz. pureed winter squash
- 1 box whole wheat penne
- Prep all your veggies and the sausage.
- Grate all the cheeses (fine grate).
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add in your pasta.
- Cook for approximately 5-8 minutes–you want pasta that’s still a bit too chewy to eat as is because it will cook more in the oven.
- Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- In a large dutch oven, add butter and melt over medium low heat.
- Meanwhile, turn your oven to 350 degrees to preheat.
- Add 4 tablespoons of flour and whisk to combine. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly for approximately 5 minutes. This will make your roux, which is the base for your cheese sauce. You may need to add a little of the milk to thin it out enough to cook and bubble.
- Gradually whisk in the remainder of the milk and half and half until fully incorporated.
- Add 2 heaping teaspoons of ground mustard, mix well and allow mixture to cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Take a moment to beat your egg. Add about a quarter cup of the gravy like mixture into the egg, beating constantly until mixture is cooled. This is tempering the egg and prevents it from scrambling as it would if you dumped it straight into the sauce.
- Add tempered egg to the sauce and mix well. Turn heat down to low.
- Now add in all the cheeses and stir until everything is melty and smooth.
- Next up is seasoning. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning salt, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and as much ground pepper as you like.
- Add the pureed squash and stir well.
- Add the pasta and stir well.
- Add the vegetables and stir well.
- Add the sausage and stir well.
- Pour mixture into a large casserole dish or 9×13 baking dish. I baked placed mine on a baking sheet in the oven in case it bubbled over.
- Sprinkle about a 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs over the top and spritz thoroughly with Buttery Spray.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
I never thought to use mac and cheese as a clean-out-the-fridge kind of meal but it really is a good idea! This is just chock full of some awesome ingredients!
This looks amazing! I’m going to have to try it! I also saw your new novella — I’m off to buy that as soon as I get this recipe printed out. Congratulations — that’s a huge accomplishment.
Oh thank you! And I do hope you enjoy the mac and cheese.
Looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. I’m drooling and thinking about changing tonight’s dinner menu 😉
Wow this is definitely a cheesy and rich looking mac and cheese! I like how you put veggies and meat into it to make it a well rounded meal and “healthy” ;). Thanks for submitting to Presto Pasta Nights!