Mac & cheese grows up

  • By Alison Ladman Associated Press
  • Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:21am
  • Life

In this grown-up version of macaroni and cheese we take a trip to Italy. Sort of.

Inspired by the Italian sub popular in the Northeast, we sauteed up salami, garlic peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and onion.

Our cheese sauce is creamy and sharp because of a mixture of fontina and picante provolone. If you can’t find picante provolone, just use the sharpest provolone you can find.

And while we used orecchiette pasta, any shape will do. If you prefer your macaroni and cheese baked, spoon the finished recipe into a casserole dish and top with Parmesan cheese before placing under the broiler for a minute or two.

Garlic peppers are a sort of pickled red pepper. If you can’t find them, substitute roasted red peppers and add a minced clove of garlic and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

Italian macaroni and cheese

1pound orecchiette pasta

5ounces dry salami, diced (about 1 cup)

1/2cup chopped oil packed sun-dried tomatoes

1/2cup garlic peppers, diced

1medium yellow onion, diced

2tablespoons butter

3tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups milk

1cup shredded fontina cheese

1cup shredded picante provolone cheese

1/2cup shredded fresh basil

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the salami until crisped and browned, about 5 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic peppers and onion. Continue to cook until the onion is very tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the flour and stir to coat well.

While stirring continuously, pour in the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, continuing to stir. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the fontina and provolone, one at a time, to ensure even melting. Stir in the basil and the cooked pasta. Season with salt and black pepper.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 480 calories; 170 calories from fat (36 percent of total calories); 19 g fat (10 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 55 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrate; 23 g protein; 3 g fiber; 820 mg sodium.

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