Add spring flavor, color to mac ‘n’ cheese with peas, carrots


Macaroni, butter, milk, flour, cheese and more cheese are usually the ingredients associated with mac ‘n’ cheese. But how about adding roasted garlic, peas and carrots to that list?

Roasted garlic has a gentle and sweetish flavor when compared to its raw counterpart, and it adds a nice touch to cheese and pasta.

All you have to do is to slice the top off a garlic head to expose the cloves inside and wrap the head in foil. Then bake it at 350 degrees for about one hour. When the garlic cloves are cool enough, squeeze and smash the softened cloves, and add it to bisques, dips or a mac ‘n’ cheese.

Much as I like the carb bomb to be creamy and cheesy, I also like to add vegetables to my mac ‘n’ cheese so that I don’t have to go through pangs of guilt when I have two or three helpings of it. Broccoli florets, diced red pepper and spinach are all team players, but to keep things with the season, how about giving peas and carrots a chance. They complement each other in color and taste, and if they can show up together in pot pies, chicken noodle soups and curries, why not adorn a mac ‘n’ cheese with them?

The pairing also reminds me of that line in “Forrest Gump” — “Me and Jenny goes together like peas and carrots.”

Peas & Carrots Mac ‘n’ Cheese

PG tested

2 cups mini penne

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup flour

3 cups (1 pint) half-and-half, slightly warmed

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese

5 garlic cloves, roasted and smashed

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 cup cubed carrots (about 3 medium carrots)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs Italian style

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water in a 4-to-5-quart pot until a little less than al dente, stirring once or twice.

Drain pasta and set aside.

For cheesy sauce, melt butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add flour and whisk well for about 1 minute. Gradually add in warm half-and-half, whisking constantly. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, stirring, until thickened. Add cheddar cheese and stir well.

Remove from heat and add smashed garlic, peas and carrots.

Add vegetable sauce to penne and mix well. Transfer mixture to a 11-by-7-inch baking pan.

Top with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Serves 6.

— Arthi Subramaniam



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Food

Don't let the office refrigerator start a cold war
Don't let the office refrigerator start a cold war

In "This Is Just To Say," the poet William Carlos Williams wrote gently, beautifully: I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold. Seriously? Talk about entitlement. Williams was a master poet, but as an office-mate, it sounds like he was...
Sesame on the ziti, and we couldn't be happier
Sesame on the ziti, and we couldn't be happier

There's something to be learned from even the simplest recipes, and this bowl proves the point. Radicchio's bitter edge mellows once this vivid chicory spends seconds in a hot pan. That same pan, graced with a little olive oil, can then immediately coax firm grape tomatoes into almost-bursting beauties. Ziti tends to get baked into cheesy casseroles...
The best recipes of 2017 that wowed us over and over
The best recipes of 2017 that wowed us over and over

It was a year of plant foods, bowl foods and whole foods.   With whole foods that meant preparing foods as simple as possible using foods with very few ingredients, it also meant Whole Foods Market chain being gobbled up by Amazon.   Not only did Amazon stun the grocery world by buying Whole Foods Market, the grocery store industry...
Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta
Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Basic shares much with basement: It’s the bedrock, the beginning, the building block. The computer uttered its first words in BASIC. The classic dress comes in basic black. Garlic, chemically speaking, is basic.   Basic is being abased. Not for its link to debased or base, as in lowly. But simply for its simplicity. Among the young...
Popular school fundraiser is just 'junk-food marketing to kids,' experts say
Popular school fundraiser is just 'junk-food marketing to kids,' experts say

For 43 years, schoolkids and their parents have clipped the labels from cookie bags and cracker boxes as part of a popular rewards program called Labels for Education. Through this and similar programs - think Tyson's Project A+ or General Mills' Box Tops for Education - schools get cash and supplies in exchange for clipped labels from participating...
More Stories