Meatless Monday: Herbed Zucchini and Havarti Mac and Cheese
There are some things we grew out of after elementary school: biker shorts, scented pencils, and our crush on J.T.T. (where is he nowadays anyway?).
But there are other things that we refuse to give up, like mac and cheese! Oh yes, the gooey dish followed us from the school cafeteria to our dorm room in college, and now has made its way into even the fanciest of restaurants.
We are loving all of the variations of the “easy” meal, and have recently fallen in love with Laura Werlin’s herbed zucchini and havarti whole-grain version from her brand-new Mac and Cheese, Please cookbook! The lightened up recipe is nutritious, delicious, and is sure to help you reel in your crush when you make it for him on a date. (Just don’t use those little dinosaur-shaped noodles!)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
8 ounces whole-grain rotini pasta (or use whole-grain fusilli)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch scallions (8 to 10), white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped
2 medium zucchini (about 6 ounces each), cut into ¼-inch cubes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 cup reduced- or low-fat milk
12 ounces reduced fat Havarti cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 cups)
1 recipe/2 cups oven-roasted tomatoes (see recipe below)
2 ounces aged Asiago cheese, finely grated (or use Parmesan)
1. Fill a 4- to 5- quart pot about three-quarters full with water and add 1 tablespoon of the salt. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook, stirring once or twice, until tender but firm, 6 to 8 minutes, and drain. Reserve the pot.
2. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and half the scallions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and tender but still firm, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the basil, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. Using the same pot you used to cook the pasta, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and stir constantly until a paste forms, 30 to 45 seconds. Continue stirring for 1 to 2 minutes more, until the mixture starts to darken slightly and smell a bit nutty. Turn heat to medium-low. Slowly whisk in the milks and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the mixture is hot and just beginning to bubble around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
4. Add the cheese and stir until the sauce is smooth but not runny. It should be similar in texture to cake batter. If it’s soupy, continue cooking until it thickens.
5. Add the pasta, the zucchini mixture, and tomatoes and stir to combine. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with the Asiago and top with the remaining scallions.
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Put the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and black pepper to taste. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly shriveled. Remove from the oven and let cool.
xx, The FabFitFun Team