Now that I am done with my public service announcement of the day (i.e. be wary of your subconscious...it may be out to kill you), I will move on to bigger and better things. Such as the grandeur notion of love embodied in one single casserole dish. Generally I am not an advocate of using food as a substitute for interpersonal relationships. It can lead to emotional eating, which we can all agree is not usually a good thing. However, given the fact that I will be single (again) this Valentine's day, I decided that if I can't get that gushy, dreamy, reach for the stars feeling from another person, I might as well get it from food. And I knew just the recipe that would provide the aforesaid satisfaction: caramelized sweet potato, garlic, and rosemary macaroni and cheese. Can you really ask for a better combination of ingredients? I saw this on delish.com a bit ago where it was lauded for being the winner of the Tillamook Mac N Cheese competition. After making it, I fully appreciate why it won. I may never be able to eat any other mac and cheese ever again. I am submitting this to the 100th edition of Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted by the pasta-rific founder herself, Ruth of Once Upon A Feast (I really can't think of a pasta dish better suited for this honor), and also to this month's Weekend Cookbook Challenge, the theme of which is love. This is being hosted by Sara of I Like To Cook. On a less exciting, but still delicious side note, I whipped up some roasted asparagus with parmesan to go with the pasta. Asparagus is an aphrodisiac after all...(Even if it does make your pee smell weird).
Caramelized Sweet Potato, Garlic, and Rosemary Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 4, adapted from delish.com
5 cloves garlic
1/2 lb sweet potato
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb pasta
2 tbsp light butter
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
12 oz almond milk
1 cup reduced fat mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1. Choose your pasta of choice. I recently ordered some gourmet pastas from Pappardelle's and decided to use this southwestern blend. This really added some kick and smoky flavor to the pasta which complemented the sweetness of the potatoes really well. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice the sweet potatoes. Boil with garlic for five minutes. Mash the garlic with a fork and set aside.
3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the sweet potato slices for 5 minutes or until caramelized, flipping every minute or so. Set aside.
4. Boil water and cook pasta.
5. Prepare your cheese sauce. Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 3 minutes. Whisk in milk, slowly. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 minute, whisking all the while. Mix in all of the mozzarella cheese, 2 tbsp of the parmesan cheese, the salt, pepper and rosemary until the cheese is melted. Mix in the garlic and the sweet potato and pour into pasta.
6. Pour the pasta/cheese/sweet potato/heaven mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and remaining 2 tbsp parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden.
Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan
1 1/2 lb asparagus
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 450. Arrange asparagus on a baking pan. Spray with cooking spray. Top with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Roast 10-15 minutes.