Between our home-delivered farm-fresh milk and the cheese addiction my toddler shares, we consume a lot of (hormone-free) dairy products in our house. A favorite way to use up the assorted bits and ends of cheeses in our cheese drawer is my baked macaroni and cheese, with roasted red peppers. I don’t believe in hiding vegetables in food, but I do exploit the “better together” theory of adding vegetables to something the toddler is guaranteed to eat. He loves to look at different colored peppers, but rarely eats them. I find that roasting the peppers first gives them a velvety smooth texture that goes better in creamy pasta than crisp fresh vegetables, making them a little less objectionable to sensitive eaters.
Recipe: Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers
- 2 roasted red peppers, cut in thin 1-2 inch slices
- 2 cups uncooked macaroni
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded cheese (favorite blend: cave-aged cheddar, smoked gouda, Wallaby)
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmigiano (or similar, used Dry Jack recently)
Cook macaroni according to package instructions, but subtract 3 minutes from cooking time. While macaroni cooks, melt butter in saucepan over low heat. When melted, stir in flour, salt and mustard and cook until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and whisk in milk, stirring until lumps are dissolved. Return to high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until boiling. Boil and stir 1 minute, until sauce begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until melted and smooth.
Drain macaroni. Combine with red peppers and cheese sauce and pour into 2-quart casserole pan. Mix together breadcrumbs and parmigiano cheese and sprinkle over top. Bake 25-30 minutes, until topping is golden. Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!