Monday, December 28, 2009

Three Cheese Mac 'n Cheese

Here I present a rather non-traditional, non-yellow, non-elbow macaroni mac 'n cheese dish, with spinach, chickpeas and vegetable stock thrown in for good health. It's a light yet no less cheesy version of a classic dairy dish. I made it a couple of times last week to rave reviews. I hope you like it!

1 box whole grain pasta, cooked according to package directions

2 tbsp margarine (I use earth balance veggy sticks)
2 tbsp flour
2 cups pareve vegetable stock
1/4 cup almond milk (regular milk, half and half, or cream will also work well)
1 cup low fat part skim ricotta
1 cup shredded or pulsed parmesan reggiano cheese (plus extra for later)
2 oz or 2 slices light muenster or monterey jack cheese
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (broccoli or cauliflower would also work fine)
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp black pepper (or to taste)

In a large, wide-bottomed saucepan, combine the margarine and flour and make a roux by cooking together for a minute or so until pasty and bubbly. Add almond milk and vegetable stock slowly and mix thoroughly until there are no lumps. You should have a nice sauce that coats the back of the spoon well. Add the ricotta and parmesan cheeses and mix until incorporated. Add salt and pepper and correct the seasoning. Add the veggies, chickpeas and the pasta, correct the seasoning again. Transfer to a baking dish and top with parmesan and muenster/monterey jack cheese. Bake at 350 for 10-20 minutes.

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