Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whole Wheat Mac+Cheese with Maple-Glazed Brussel Sprouts

You read that right! I've been craving mac and cheese lately. My mom used to make a pretty good mac + cheese and, as we got older, she'd incorporate some veggies into the dish (come on, if you know her, it's no surprise--it's almost a miracle she agreed to the basis of the dish in the first place). Today I got home at 2:40. I thought, I just had a long day of work. Nonstop. Busy busy. And I have more to do tomorrow. Ugh. If I start now, I'll have time to prepare dinner, go to the gym, come home and bake it, and then do some reading. Sounds like I pack it in, doesn't it? I'll admit, busy busy busy baking busy busy busy isn't so typical for me, but for some reason I bake more when I'm relatively low stressed and very busy than any other time.

Anyway, as I browsed through the fridge for a green vegetable to put in my mac+cheese, the only appetizing verde was a bunch of brussel sprouts. Brussel sprouts. How will they be good in mac and cheese? What flavor profile am I looking for? Think...think... shaved and sweet and spicy? Along with creamy rich cheesy? Yes! That's it!

Also, I want to encourage you, my readers, to leave me your comments, questions, any thing, about what you read here on Ripened. I appreciate the feedback. Keep Cooking!

Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese with Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts
12 oz whole wheat noodles, shape of your choice, cooked al dente
2 T butter
2 T flour
3 c warmed milk
dash nutmeg
bay leaf
1/2 t paprika
1 T yellow mustard powder
salt and pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 onion, diced
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz shredded Gruyere cheese
2 c maple-glazed brussel sprouts, recipe below

In a medium-large saucepan, make a roux (melt butter, whisk in flour, and slowly whisk in milk). Add nutmeg, paprika, mustard, salt and pepper. Temper egg and add to milk pot. Stir lightly on medium-low heat until mixture begins to thicken, about 10 min. Remove bay leaf. Add diced onion, a bit more than 3/4 the cheddar, and 3/4 of the Gruyere. Stir well, until cheeses have melted and you have one uniform mixture. Turn off heat, add noodles and brussel sprouts. Stir until all is incorporated. Pour into lightly greased casserole dish and bake, 20 min with lid or foil covering, 10 min uncovered, or until bubbly and brown on top.

Maple Brussel Sprouts

2 c brussel sprouts (measure after cut), shaved with mandolin or very thinly sliced by hand
1/2 - 1 T butter
1/4 c maple syrup
salt and pepper

In a large saute pan, melt butter. Add maple syrup. Heat until bubbly. Add brussel sprouts. Season with salt and pepper. Toss around in pan on high heat, for about 7 minutes. Brussel sprouts should have a crunch when done.

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