Involve your kids in holiday cooking by using fancy pasta shapes for this delectable mac and cheese with gouda, provolone and mozzarella. It’s fun!
Although my daughter Sam is now very much into natural food and health (see her recipe for homemade cough drops), she has never lost her penchant for integrating fun in food. It’s her trademark. Eleven years ago, she dipped gummy bears in melted chocolate and I was so amazed. Eventually, we started seeing chocolate coated gummy candies in the grocery and I wonder where the makers got the idea. Meanwhile, Sam has gone on to create even more amazing food and drinks.
We went grocery shopping yesterday, Sam announced that she was going to make mac and cheese for dinner, and she handpicked all the ingredients for the meatless pasta dish. To start with, she refused to use macaroni or any traditional pasta shape. Instead, she picked a bag of outer space themed pasta with aliens, rocket ships, ringed planets and crescent moons.
From the grocery, we drove to the deli store. She chose provolone and gouda (with tomato and olives) to go with the mozzarella that we already had at home.
Then, at home, she cooked. The result was a creamy and ultra-cheesy mac and cheese to die for.
If you’re introducing your kids to cooking, what better time to do it than over the holidays? And what better way to excite them than by offering food shapes not much different from the toys that they play with? It won’t hurt them to eat outer space themed pasta because it is still pasta. The nutrients are the same but the shapes are definitely more attractive to children.
This recipe serves 4 if served as a side dish. If you intend to serve it as a main dish, double the amount of ingredients.
Cook the pasta in boiling water with a tablespoon of salt until just done (see how to cook al dente pasta like a pro).
While the pasta cooks, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a pan. Add the flour all at once, stirring briskly to remove lumps. Cook to make a blonde roux (see how to make a roux and how to use it).
With one hand stirring the roux, pour in the milk in a thin stream. Cook until thickened.
Stir the provolone, gouda and mozzarella into the white sauce. Cook, stirring, until melted. If the sauce appears to be too thick, pour in more milk, a quarter cup at a time. The sauce should be thick but still pourable.
Sprinkle the pepper into the sauce. Taste. Add salt, if needed.
Drain the pasta and dump into the sauce. Stir to coat each piece of pasta with sauce.
Ladle the mac and cheese into bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and, optionally, more shredded cheese.