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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

10 Minute Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese is both ubiquitous and prolific in North America; not only can you find it pretty much anywhere and everywhere, but there are also so many versions of it - too many to list, really.

I've even seen it pop up in foodie and gastronomy places, often with some sort of unique (but ultimately pretentious) twist to it.

Well, I make a few versions of mac & cheese myself.


In fact, I'm not sure I've ever made the same kind twice.

My favourite method, and the one I'd use if I was trying to impress company, is rooted in the French style of cuisine, and uses a white sauce as the 'base'.  Of course I would use real butter and full fat cheese and cream as well.  

This version is delicious.  But also kind of impractical.  There's a reason it gets relegated to 'special occasions'.

Anyway... today, I thought I'd write about a quick and dirty version of mac and cheese that is really simple, really fast, and almost healthy.

In fact, I did it in less than 10 minutes.

First thing to do when you're racing against the clock is to start your pasta water boiling. That can be your 'limiting variable' after all, so gotta get that going right away, putting the pasta noodles in as soon as the water is ready.

Next get your veggies chopped.

Without ceremony, I minced a tomato, a few cloves of garlic, a green onion, and some fresh thyme leaves.

Begin by sweating the onion in a (reasonably) large but proportionate amount of vegetable oil.

After a minute or two, tops, add the tomato and garlic.

SautĂ© this for another couple of minutes, and then transfer it to a blender.  I used my trusty immersion blender.

While the saucepan is still hot, throw in your cheese.  Really this can be anything that melts decently.  Myself I used a small amount of a couple really strong cheeses, including a St. Agur, and some gorgonzola.  With the strong cheeses, you really don't need much.

If the m.f.% of your cheese(s) is low, add some oil (or butter) if you like, but only if absolutely necessary.  With these particular cheeses, I did not.

That's JUST cheese.

Then I stirred in the fresh thyme.

We're about 7 or 8 minutes in now.

Scrape out all the veggies from the blender, and stir that in.


As soon as the pasta is ready, drain it and then dump it into this saucepan.


Top with freshly ground black pepper.

You're done.


So good.  So easy.  So quick.  And not terribly unhealthy.