I love macaroni & cheese. There is something about gooey, creamy cheese over lots of carb-y pasta that makes my mouth water. I’ve been looking for a blog-worthy macaroni and cheese recipes for a while now, but I had yet to test one that really made my taste buds jump for joy…until now. You’ve probably noticed that I often use 2% reduced fat cheeses in my recipes, but when it comes to mac & cheese it’s worth it to me to go all out and use the real thing. I’ve been working on a separate recipe for Wisconsin Cheese (coming in October!) and I bought a block of Black Diamond Vintage Reserved Aged Five Years Cheddar for it and used the leftovers in this dish. It is amazing. The more a cheddar is aged, the sharper and more flavorful it becomes. Using a cheese like this is perfect because it packs so much flavor that you can get a lot from a little.
I often hear people say that they want to use a point-friendly pasta but they just can’t get into the flavor and texture of wheat pasta (not me, I truly love all pasta). On behalf of all those people, I was really excited when Barilla asked me to try their new Piccolini “Rich in Fiber” white pastas. They sent me two boxes to try, their Mini Rotini (which is what I used here) and their Mini Penne. Both have the same WW P+ values per serving as wheat pasta, but they look, feel and taste just like traditional white pasta because they have three times the fiber as said white pasta. White pasta lovers: keep your eyes peeled because I have a Barilla Piccolini giveaway coming your way very soon!
This macaroni & cheese recipe was creamy, filling, flavorful and incredibly satisfying. It was just as easy to make as the kind you buy in the box and infinitely tastier. Now that is comfort food!
Creamy Stove Top Macaroni & CheeseSource: adapted from White on Rice Couple
2 c dry wheat macaroni OR other small-ish pasta (I used Barilla Piccolini Mini Rotini)
2 c skim milk
1 t salt
½ t mustard powder
generous dash of nutmeg
1 c grated cheese (Pick something strong and flavorful to maximize the taste – the better quality the cheese, the better your dish will be! I used Black Diamond Vintage Reserved Aged Five Years Cheddar Cheese)
2 T + 2 t seasoned bread crumbs
1. Place the dry pasta in a colander and run it under water quickly to rinse. Let drain.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the uncooked pasta, milk, salt, mustard powder and nutmeg and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Make sure to stir frequently and stay near the stove during this step – milk goes from simmer to boil very quickly and can overflow if not watched! Once the mixture is simmering, turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until milk is absorbed and macaroni is fully cooked.
3. Add grated cheese and stir into pasta. Turn off burner heat and cover saucepan. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
4. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and add bread crumbs. Toast bread crumbs, stirring occasionally for a few minutes until browned.
5. Split macaroni & cheese into 4 bowls and sprinkle two teaspoons of toasted bread crumbs onto each serving. Enjoy!
Yields 4 (rounded ¾ cup) servings. Weight Watchers Points Plus: 9 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Nutrition Information per serving from myfitnesspal.com: 384 calories, 53 g carbs, 11 g fat, 19 g protein, 5 g fiber