farmers' market, my CSA farm, and Zingerman's). And I'll miss the kitchen where I really fell in love with cooking. I packed up the kitchen yesterday (how did I have so much stuff in there??), and it's weird seeing it so empty. I still have a few things that I'm taking in my car because I can't survive without the ability to at least cook the basics while the rest of my belongings are in limbo on a moving truck, but it's not the same. I'm excited to create new food memories in my new kitchen, but I'll always have fond memories of this one. So, it's only fitting that I share one of the last things I made in Michigan, carrot mac and cheese.
It should be no surprise to you that I crammed vegetables into mac and cheese, and this worked wonderfully. I really liked the way that the carrot blended with the cheese to make a hearty sauce that wasn't too heavy. It was sweeter than your typical version, but it wasn't too much, and I thought it was a nice change. However, unlike normal mac and cheese, I didn't enjoy the leftovers cold (I know I'm weird...), so make sure you warm it up.
Carrot macaroni and cheese (adapted from Food & Wine)
12 oz. carrots, sliced thinly
1 large orange, zested and juiced
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. chunky brown rice pasta (penne, fusilli, etc.)
3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
Combine carrots, orange zest and juice, and water in a small saucepan, cover, and let simmer over medium heat until carrots are tender (about 30 min). Let the carrots cool for a few minutes, and then puree them in a blender with salt and pepper (you may need a little bit more water to make a thick puree).
Cook the pasta according to package directions (make sure to stop when it's al dente), and reserve about a cup of the water before draining the pasta. Add the pasta back to it's cooking pot, stir in the carrot and reserved pasta water, and let cook over medium heat for 5 min. Then add 2/3 of the cheese and stir well. Spread pasta out in a 8x8" baking pan and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 min. Serves 4.