Sometimes, I just want a heaping bowl of mac’ & cheese. Not the baked kind, I didn’t grow up with that method. No, I mean the creamy, gooey, perfectly-cooked-noodle kind made on the stove; the right way. There, I said it. Today was one of those days when it was necessary. We have been spoiled with a mild, sunny, and colorful Autumn this year. Not today, today felt like a real New England Fall day. It was gray, drizzly, and the kind of damp cold that sits unwelcome in your bones. Something had to be done to undo this day.
Thursdays are longer days in general for me, motoring straight from the office to the allergy doctor for my weekly shot to ward off the evil dust mite that taunts me. I imagine they dance around in my nose dressed in battle armor like a cartoon, poking me with with their nano-spears. Yes, I’ve envisioned Spartan dust mites engaged in battle in my nose.
People who don’t have intense and real cravings scare me. Maybe they don’t scare me, but they certainly make me feel like part of them is dead inside. My cravings range the culinary spectrum but my internal compass almost always spins around to a basic nostalgic meal. I don’t think I grew up with anything other than Velveeta – I ate it, and I liked it! That mystery block of engineered “cheese” was a staple in our fridge. Now, I understand why. I’ve made many attempts to create that same creamy mouth feel and failed. There is nothing worse than gritty, grainy, melted cheese. Trust me.
I don’t want to make a roux – ain’t nobody got time for that! I want to use the ingredients I grew up with: cheese, butter, milk, and noodles. Simple, simple, simple, and simple. Speaking of noodles, while browsing the pasta in my grocery stores’ teeny organic section, I found Eden’s Kamut Vegetable Spirals. They looked like spirals of particle board, colorful one’s. Being my typical skeptic self, I bought the box along with a package of regular organic pasta. You know, just in case I chickened out of trying this unfamiliar product. From what I’m reading, this ancient grain is technically Khorasan wheat – while Kamut is just a trademarked brand. It has high levels of protein, essential amino acids, vitamins (notably magnesium, zinc, and selenium), an a lipid to carb ratio which translates into more energy! Wait, should I be eating this before bed? It sounds like great workout fuel… hmm.
None of this matters if it doesn’t taste good in my book.
Well friends, it was good. I didn’t wimp out, I committed to the “healthier” pasta and I’m glad I did. I even threw in some steamed broccoli for good measure. I’m entirely new to the Kamut scene but so far, when smothered in cheese and other dairy products, it’s completely discreet. So give it a shot!
Kamut Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli
1 box of Kamut Vegetable Spiral pasta – or try the plain, your choice!
16 oz of freshly shredded Vermont cheddar – the finer the shreds, the better it melts
1 cup of organic 2% milk
3 tbsp butter divided
1 crown of organic broccoli, chopped
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/8 heaping tsp of smoked paprika – or throw in a squirt of your favorite hot sauce
sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Boil the Kamut for 7 minutes, drain and set back on the stove at a low temperature. Stir in the other ingredients until evenly melted and serve.
We like to sprinkle a little local spice on top – bring on the Des’s Deadly Dash! Right now we’re working through a sample of their Lemondrop. It’s got a lower level of heat that doesn’t require a dinner intermission to retrieve tissues… which, usually, I’m all for.
Cheers to cheesy goodness!
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