Mac & Cheese
Cream Sauce without the Cream
Mac & Cheese
To prepare cream sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add broth and wine and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the rice is very soft and the liquid is greatly reduced, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.Advertisement
Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree, in batches if necessary, until smooth. (Alternatively, puree in the pot with an immersion blender.) The consistency should be similar to a pourable sauce; add more broth or water as needed. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, preferably white pepper.
To prepare mac & cheese: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 6-cup (or similar-size) baking dish with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook 3 to 4 minutes less than the
package directions. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Combine 2 1/2 cups of the Cream Sauce and Cheddar (or Gruyere) in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until melted. Season with pepper and hot sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta and gently stir to combine. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley and 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl and sprinkle over the casserole.
Bake until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate cream sauce (Steps 1 & 2) for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator or using the defrost setting on your microwave.
Tip: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian's brand, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.
Variation: To make the sauce vegetarian, we like to use chicken-flavored vegetarian broth over regular vegetable broth for its hearty, rich flavor and pale yellow color. Look for “no-chicken” broth in the natural-foods section of well-stocked supermarkets.
4 1/2 starch, 1/2 lean meat, 1 high-fat meat, 1 fat