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Mac & Cheese

This is great dish for a bit of wholesome indulgence during the holiday week, or really any freezing cold wintry day—particularly after a super intense Enhancewell workout so you’ve got a few calories to spare.   There’s nothing quite warm and comforting like mac & cheese.  This version brings in a whole grain, complex carb element for the pasta and loads up on hearty vegetables and lean protein to round out a balanced, albeit slightly decadent one-dish meal. 

Serves 6-8

7 oz / half box of Sfogili einkorn whole wheat macaroni (or regular / other whole wheat / gluten-free macaroni pasta)

2 lamb sausage links (or pork sausage should work just fine)

Olive oil for sauteeing

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 leeks, white portion, halved and thinly sliced

½ fresno red chili or jalapeno, finely minced

Leaves from 2-3 sprigs of thyme

½ bunch Swiss chard (red, green or rainbow)

1/3-1/2 head Romanesco (a type of cauliflower, or regular cauliflower), cut into small florets and pieces of stem

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups whole milk

10 ounces sharp white cheddar, 2 ounces reserved for topping 

6 ounces comte (or whatever other cheese you fancy), 2 ounces reserved for topping

½ teaspoon mustard powder

A good shake of garlic powder

1/16 – 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Zest of ¼ orange *only if using lamb sausage

1-2 teaspoons liquid from pickles or capers (*if desired/on hand)

Kosher salt to taste

1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or smoked paprika

½ cup toasted garlic breadcrumbs (or you can skip this step if you don’t have them on hand)

This is great dish for a bit of wholesome indulgence during the holiday week, or really any freezing cold wintry day—particularly after a super intense Enhancewell workout so you’ve got a few calories to spare.   There’s nothing quite warm and comforting like mac & cheese.  This version brings in a whole grain, complex carb element for the pasta and loads up on hearty vegetables and lean protein to round out a balanced, albeit slightly decadent one-dish meal. 

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cook macaroni in salted boiling water per directions.  Strain, reserving 1/3 cup pasta water.  Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside until ready to use.

Saute sausage in a bit of olive oil until cooked through. Set aside.  Using the same pan, saute garlic, leek and chili with a bit more olive oil. For 3-5 minutes.  Add thyme leaves and chard, saute another 2-3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside. Finally, saute Romanesco for 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add to veg mix.  ( Or roast with olive oil, salt and pepper for 8-10 minutes) while concurrently sauteing other veg.

Combine pasta, sausage and vegetable mix.  In a small saucepan, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons flour until smooth. Slowly whisk in milk to make the bechamel sauce. Whisk in mustard, garlic, nutmeg, orange zest.  Slowly whisk in both cheeses (reserving 2 ounces or so of each for the topping).  Continue whisking frequently until slightly thickened.   Whisk in liquid (if desired) from pickles/capers (namely for acid balance). Season with salt and pepper.

Butter a 9×9 casserole/baking dish.  Add the pasta-sausage-veg mix into the dish.  Pour bechamel-cheese sauce evenly over top to disperse throughout pasta.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over top followed by cayenne / smoked paprika and breadcrumbs.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

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