Winter demands the warm comfort of mac and cheese
AP Photo | Matthew Mead
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 with 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
Start to finish: 40 minutes
1 pound orecchiette pasta
5 ounces dry salami, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup garlic peppers, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
1 cup shredded picante provolone cheese
1/2 cup 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, 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.
Nutrition information 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.