Sunday, April 7, 2013


I am a lifelong fan of macaroni and cheese, by which I do mean the real stuff, with cream and butter and shocking amounts of shredded cheese of all kinds. I am particularly fond of macaroni and cheese with a kick so smoky hot paprika and chopped pickled jalapeƱos often make their way into my beautiful old Pyrex casserole dishes.
Unfortunately, as I get older and my body adjusts to no longer being in a raging hyperthyroid state due to Graves' Disease I am no longer able to eat endless amounts of creamy, cheesy deliciousness. Suddenly those recipes calling for pounds of different cheeses just aren't looking so good or sitting so well. In recent months I've been drawn to versions of my favorite meal that, while still comforting and substantial, are likelier to be a bit lighter and contain more vegetables to offset the richness and up the nutrition. And of course these days I use gluten free pasta. My favorite is a corn-quinoa blend made by Ancient Harvest which is an improvement over wheat-based pasta in terms of protein, fiber, and vitamins.
I'll be sharing a few of my new favorites with you in upcoming posts but I'm starting with this recipe for Pasta with Cauliflower in a Spicy Pink Sauce which I found on the Saveur website. The only changes I made were to use gluten free pasta (and next time I would use larger tubes rather than the tiny shells I had on hand) and to substitute half and half for heavy cream. As you can see from the ingredients, this hardly qualifies as spa cuisine, but it does sit more easily in my system than a flour thickened, super cheesy macaroni and the addition of the cauliflower, tomatoes, and chilies bring a good dose of vitamins to the dish. Plus this stuff is great! While the kids weren't sold on it, the adults in the house couldn't get enough. Add a fresh salad and you've got yourself a nice, easy meal full of flavor. I haven't tried it yet but I am guessing this dish would freeze and reheat well and, as the authors recommend baking the pasta in smaller dishes, you could certainly tuck a couple away, well wrapped, in your freezer for a dinner emergency or a friend who could use a meal.

What about you? Are you a mac and cheese lover? Do you have a favorite variation? Do tell!
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