Mac & Cheese, Please!
Basil & Leek Mac & Cheese
My friend Jenny came over for recently and I decided to make a jazzed up, reduced-fat mac & cheese. This tasty dish was the perfect winter-time comfort food afer a stressful work week. Lots of leftover, too, of course! De-lish!
- 1 lb orecchiete shaped pasta (you can use any shape you prefer)
- 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded 3 cheese blend (available at Trader Joe’s)
- 1 1/2 cups skim milk
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 10 basil leaves
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp light butter or light margarine
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic
- garlic salt/hot red pepper flakes
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat and sautee the leeks until they are soft. Allow the leeks to cool, and then combine them with the basil leaves and lemon zest in a food processor and blend until they are pureed to a smooth consistency. In the same pan that you cooked the leeks, melt 1 tbsp of light butter and 1 tbsp of crushed garlic. When it is melted, add 1 1/2 cups of the skim milk. Keep the heat on low, the milk can simmer but it should not boil. Add the basil and leek puree into the saucepan and allow to simmer on low heat.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta as directed on the package, but cook about 2 minutes under the stated time so it’s a bit firmer. Since this is also going in the oven, we don’t want the pasta to become mushy. Drain the pasta and remove any excess water.
Returning to the sauce, add the sour cream, cream cheese, shredded cheese, parmesan and stir to combine. Add a dash of garlic salt and hot red pepper flakes. Take the pasta, and put it into the sauce. After pasta is coated in the sauce, pour the mixture into a large, greased baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs, parmesan and shredded cheese over the top and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling and browned on top.