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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pasta with Cheese Sauce

(a.k.a. Macaroni and Cheese)
William has recently discovered they joys of macaroni and cheese: first with a quick and simple home made version, then with my favorite frozen natural brand.  And yes, he is a fan of both!

Cheese Sauce
This is adapted from a Joy of Cooking macaroni and cheese recipe, but I've simplified it. Just remember that all of the ingredients are "1" measurements:
1 Tbsp butter or oil
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup warm whole milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I like organic sharp cheddar)
cooked pasta (I made whole wheat fusilli)
Salt & pepper to taste

Start by measuring your milk and putting it in the microwave for a minute to warm.
Make a roux by melting the butter over medium heat in a saucepan, then whisking in the flour with a fork/whisk.  Continue to whisk over heat until roux begins to darken to a golden-tan color, then slowly pour in milk while continuing to whisk.  Keep on whisking  gently until white sauce begins to thicken, then slowly stir in the shredded cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste and pour over warm pasta.
Adventurous/Adult options: Instead of all cheddar, try 1/2 crumbled gorgonzola, bleu cheese or goat cheese! Try adding fresh garlic or garlic powder, and/or your favorite herbs/spices!  Add steamed veggies (peas, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach) and/or cooked meats (grilled checken, salmon, shrimp) to the pasta for a rounded meal! 

Backup Plan
Don't have the 10 minutes it takes to boil water for pasta and make this sauce? Try William's second favorite macaroni and cheese to date, Amy's Macaroni and Cheese, from the freezer section.  It is all natural, and even comes in a "Soy Cheese" or "Rice Pasta" version for people with food sensitivities/allergies.  I plan to keep some of these in the freezer at all times!


  1. Hi Sarah,
    I've been making Garrett Annie's Mac and Cheese and adding a squash, cauliflower or broccoli puree, but today I tried making a cheese sauce from scratch. I forgot how easy it was. I used whole wheat flour for the rue and it seemed to work fine. I used some cream cheese, squash, and parmesan for a bit more flavor. To season it I used ground thyme (I thought this would go well with the squash, and it did!) It was so yummy, Garrett wanted to eat it by the spoonful! Just thought you might like to hear a variation!
    Garrett's pickiness has reached a new level. He used to just refuse veggies, now he's refusing most meat and even his beloved green eggs after a few bites. Any suggestions for getting more protein in his diet?

  2. I love the idea of adding pureed squash and thyme- I'm going to try that soon! William has been much more picky lately too (entering toddlerhood!). My favorite way to "hide" ingredients is in what I call "gravy rice." Brown rice with gravy (from a beef stew I made, then froze into cubes- good hidden protein! I'm thinking buying some canned gravy and freezing it into cubes might be a good idea too.) and added soft cooked/mashed/pureed veggies and ground meat (turkey, chicken or beef) or mashed up fish. The brown rice itself also has some protein. Also, have you tried quinoa? TONS of protein, since its actually a seed, not a grain.

  3. Another idea: pureed white beans! They don't have a strong flavor, so can be added to just about anything (definitely mac and cheese, maybe even baked goods?).
    I just made William pasta with a sauce of olive oil, pureed squash, mascarpone cheese, sage and black pepper. He loved it! Next time I'll add pureed white beans. Thanks for the ideas Paige!