Here is a recipe for a lightened up macaroni and cheese that is packed with flavor. Feel virtuous even when pairing it with a glass of wine! Plus, with some shortcuts it comes together quickly making it perfect weeknight fare.
This dish is inspired by a recipe from the cookbook, “Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites”. The trick is to substitute the calorie laden béchamel sauce with a thick and creamy alternative. That magical element is quark, a versatile dairy product that is thick like Greek style yogurt.
Use a food processor to minimize prep and save time. Then, bake the macaroni and cheese in ramekins. Not only does this mean brief oven time, it also offers portion control.
Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
Makes 4-6 Servings
- 1/2 pound shell pasta or macaroni (I use whole wheat), cooked until al dente
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/3 cup grated onion
- 1 1/2 cups Low Fat Quark
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350˚. Use a mister to spray 4-6 eight ounce ramekins with a light coating of oil to prevent sticking. Time saver: use the grating attachment on a food processor to make quick work of prepping the Gruyere cheese and onion. Combine the grated Gruyere and onion in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Swap out the grating attachment in the food processor for the standard blade. In the food processor bowl, add the Quark, milk, mustard, nutmeg, and salt. Pulse until ingredients are combined. Pour contents into the mixing bowl containing the Gruyere cheese and grated onion. Add the cooked macaroni. Stir to combine ingredients.
Transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture to individual ramekins. Top each with Panko bread crumbs. Spritz each with a bit of oil from the mister.
Put the filled ramekins in the oven. I recommend setting them all on a baking sheet just in case there are any drips. It also makes it easier to get them in and out of the oven. Bake for ten minutes or until bread crumbs are browned.
Note that these serving sizes are rather minimal. For a healthy and filling dinner, we typically combine it with another dish such as Easy Curried Sweet Potato Soup.
Wine Pairing for Macaroni and Cheese
Both the Gruyere cheese and the Dijon mustard make this dish a nice match for a Chardonnay. If you prefer a more fruity wine, reach for unoaked Chardonnay. In our house, however, we favor Chardonnay with a little creaminess. So, we usually look for one fermented in neutral oak.
When we are feeling fancy, I top the dish with splash of truffle oil and have the hubby break out some bubbly. Now, doesn’t that sound like a better way to get through the week? Tag me over on Twitter and let me know what you think!