Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Carrot macaroni and cheese recipe

Carrot macaroni and cheese
I've been in denial for the last few weeks, but I'm finally starting to accept the fact that I'm moving across the country in less than a week.  Don't get me wrong, I'm beyond excited, but I always turn into a mess before I move.  When I left for college, I cried for the entire 5 hour drive, and as I was moving out after college, I broke down in the food court on campus and cried like a baby (luckily this was the food court right next to the hospital, so crying was a common occurrence).  Of course I'll miss my friends more than anything, but it's also hard to say goodbye to all of my food-related loves in Michigan (particularly my 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)
(Printable version)

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.


Joanne said...

I hate moving also! Good luck with everything!

I've heard mixed reviews about this carrot mac and cheese...which really just means I'm going to have to try it!

Cooking with Kait said...

A great comfort dish for your last cooking adventure in Michigan.

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Good luck with your move! And it's okay to mourn your old place - you might take some photos of your favorite places (even your kitchen) so you can always remember them. This mac and cheese sounds interesting! I wonder if I would be able to pull it off with Daiya. Hmm...

Anonymous said...

Drool. This sounds great. I made a mac and cheese with butternut squash and it was awesome, so I will have to try this one - not until fall though - it is too hot to run my oven!!

Good luck with your move.

Jessica said...

What an interesting flavor combination! Good Luck with your move!

Stephanie said...

When you figure out how to make Zingerman's parmesan peppercorn bread without wheat, let me know!

Love that place. Ann Arbor is always to be missed (I was there for 3 years...over 10 years ago)

annie said...

wow, this sounds like a great winter comfort dish - and healthy too. i like the sound of the carrot and the orange juice to give it a bit of a kick.

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

A lovely brown rice pasta dish!!


Many greetings from Brussels, Belgium!

Katie said...

Joanne - Thanks! Except for the fact that the movers still haven't delivered my stuff, everything went pretty well. I read a lot of mixed reviews about this recipe and was hesitant to try it, but I definitely belong in the "like it" camp (I didn't find it too sweet like some did). I would love to know what you think if you try it.

Kait - definitely!

Alta - Thanks! I've never tried cooking with Daiya, but I would love to know if it works if you end up trying it.

cookbookcooks - I love using butternut squash, too, and this was similar in some ways. I think this would be even better in fall/winter when everyone starts craving comfort food.

Jessica - Thanks!

Stephanie - I never tried Zingerman's parmesan peppercorn bread (I have a feeling I missed out!), but I'll be sure to post something if I ever try something similar. I will definitely miss Ann Arbor.

Annie - I wasn't sure how the carrot and orange juice combo would work, but I loved it!

Sophie - Thanks! So glad to have a reader from Brussels! I've thoroughly enjoyed my visits there.

potlikker said...

definately fantastic, and I do not generally like carrots!! But I will probably never stir cheddar cheese into something again---just makes a layer of glue over the bowl, spoons whatever.

Katie said...

Dad - I'm kind of surprised (but glad) that you liked it! And yes, stirring cheese makes a big mess, but it's usually worth it.