Friday, April 15, 2011

{adventures in pasta}

I have this unofficial rule in my mind that I can cook one "unhealthy" meal a week.

Last weekend that meal was macaroni & cheese... the ultimate comfort food... full of carbohydrates and dairy.
So I went all out with this mac 'n cheese...
I made a roux with butter and flour, adding milk slowly until I had a white sauce.
I had some leftover vintage English cheddar, and some gorgonzola, so I threw those in with some regular cheddar cheese and monterey jack cheese. I also added about 1/2 a cup of white wine to deepen the flavor. I seasoned it with some mustard powder, salt and freshly ground pepper.
I mixed the cheese sauce in with the pasta shells and put it in a casserole dish, sliced some tomatoes on top of it and sprinkled some more cheese over the whole thing.
I put it in the oven for 15 minutes to heat through, and then browned the top under the broiler for about a minute.




And it was delicious in all its cheesy glory.

I really like pasta, so I've been looking for healthier ways to cook it [in my last post, I discovered a really good pasta substitute]. Earlier this week I found this recipe for non-dairy fettuccini alfredo with broccoli and sautéed portabello mushrooms and I tried it last night. It turned out to be so good.
The white alfredo sauce is made with a base of pureed cauliflower instead of the usual [delicious but incredibly unhealthy] butter & flour roux with cream, parmesan cheese and cream cheese. It sounds weird, but once you add the basil, oregano, garlic, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and nutritional yeast... the pureed cauliflower sauce tastes really good.
The fettuccini noodles and the broccoli are cooked together and drained, then tossed in the cauliflower sauce, and topped with portabello mushrooms that were sautéed with red wine. Incidentally that's the only part of the recipe that I really did differently.. I used red wine instead of white wine for the mushrooms for a more robust flavor.



Everything just went together so well... the lighter flavors of the pasta, broccoli, and cauliflower alfredo sauce with the deeper flavor mushrooms in red wine sauce.

[And sure, the pasta is basically carbohydrates, but once you cut out the butter, cream, parmesan, and cream cheese that go into a normal fettuccini alfredo sauce... you're left with a far healthier meal.]

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