Modern Mac and Cheddar
Source of Recipe
1 cup low-fat (1 percent) cottage cheese
3/4 pound elbow macaroni or other short tube-shaped pasta
1/2 pound broccoli florets
Vegetable oil spray
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2/3 cup thinly sliced scallions, plus 1/3 cup
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups skim milk
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, plus 1/2 cup (about 1/2 pound total)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1. Process the cottage cheese in a blender or food processor just until smooth, about 15 seconds. Set aside. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for 7 minutes. Add the broccoli to the pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes more. Drain the pasta and broccoli well and return to the cooking pot. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish or 7x11-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray.
2. In a large, preferably nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat and cook the bell pepper for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cup of the scallions and cook until the peppers are softened, about 2 minutes more. Stir in the flour, mustard and cayenne and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the cottage cheese and 1 1/2 cups of chedsdar cheese until the cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in the Worcestershire.
3. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta and broccoli in the cooking pot and stir to combine well. Spoon into the prepared baking dish, then sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese and the paprika. (This recipe can be made up to 4 hours ahead to this point and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before baking.)
4. Preheat the broiler or preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If the recipe is freshly made and hot, set under the broiler until the top is flecked with brown and the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. If the recipe has been made ahead and looks a little dry, you may need to add up to 1/4 cup water to the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake until nearly heated through, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is flecked with brown and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes longer. Garnish with the remaining scallions and serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional information per serving:
About 415 calories, 89 calories from fat, 10g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 30mg cholesterol, 422mg sodium, 54g total carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 27g protein.