Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cheesy Pasta Casserole with Crispy Kale (Mac + Cheese)

Mac and cheese is just about the the only thing my 4 year-old sister eats with impunity. And while I'm not at all interested in say, tricking children into eating hidden vegetables, I was interested in developing a way to incorporate a little greenery, and in the process make something friendly to tastebuds of all ages. Basically, I think this is the ultimate recipe for a bowl full of cheesy, salty pasta with crispy kale chips. Serve with a simple side salad and a cup of fresh fruit for dessert. If you're lucky enough to have leftovers, it does quite well in the lunchbox.

Cheesy Pasta Casserole with Crispy Kale

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 5 slices prosciutto/pancetta, diced
  • 1 cup of finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups coarsely grated sharp reduced fat cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 pound whole wheat Penne

Preheat oven to 375. Tear kale into bite size pieces, discarding the stems. Toss on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bake until crispy, about 12 minutes. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside. Add onion to pan juices and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic, stir for 1 minute. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, allow to melt, and then add the flour and stir. Gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk; simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 1/4 cups of cheddar and all of the Parmesan cheese and cream cheese. Return prosciutto to sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and stir until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in kale chips.

Butter a 13x9x2 inch glass casserole dish. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until very al dente. Drain well. Toss pasta and cheese sauce and season again with salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake until hot and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

No comments:

Post a Comment