It seems to be the battle of the carbs in our kitchen lately. I’m trying hard to keep my carb selections smart as I clean up my diet before we enjoy a Jamaica vacation filled with unlimited food and rum in just a few short weeks. Meanwhile, my husband will be running a challenging trail marathon the first weekend of December.
Now, you see my dilemma. Him – lots of carbs and calories in general. Me – not needing so many of either at this specific time of the year.
Over last weekend I came to the conclusion that he could use some mac and cheese, and I’ve been craving it. So I struck a deal with my craving – use whole grain, healthy ingredients, and quality ingredients with lots of flavor. I also paired it up with a side of broccoli, cauliflower and bok choy sautéed in virgin coconut oil.
I had some wild mushrooms left over from the Marx Foods Mushroom Recipe Challenge so I decided to use up the Lobster Mushrooms (my new favorite) and Matsutake. This turned out to be a great flavor combo with the sharp cheddar and sweet smoked Swiss cheese.
Now, I will admit. This isn’t a gooey, cheesy mac and cheese which I often prefer. It is more of a casserole, but it has definitely taken care of the craving and the “carbs wanted” sign around here.
Wild Mushroom Mac and Cheese
2 oz dried wild mushrooms
1 box (~14 oz.) whole wheat pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
2 cups milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
¼ cup smoked Swiss, finely shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp butter
Place the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Allow to soak for at least 20 minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
Squeeze mushrooms and pat dry. Chop. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and browned. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to create a roux. Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk vigorously to avoid any clumps. Continue to cook and stir until the milk thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Reserve about 2 tbsp of cheese and stir the rest into the milk until melted. Stir in the mushrooms and onions, then salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a casserole dish with butter. Melt the 1 tbsp of butter and combine it with the bread crumbs for a topping.
Combine the pasta with the cheese sauce, stir well. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Top with the reserved cheese and bread crumbs. Cover the baking dish with a lid or foil, and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the covering and bake for an additional 5 minutes until the toppings are browned. Makes 6 to 8 servings.