Macaroni and Cheese!!!
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese right? It’s one of those classic American foods. Mine has a secret ingredient too, that makes it super easy to make. See, I love macaroni and cheese, but I suck at making rouxes, you know, the thickened cream base used in sauces like alfredo and mac and cheese. So… I cheat. Before I add the cheese, I add pureed soft, silken tofu. The tofu provides a protein base in which the cheese can melt and emulsify, without separating out.
I like to think this makes it more nutritious too.
It doesn’t really add any additional flavor, so you have to pile in the cheese, but who doesn’t like cheese? I use three different cheeses: sharp white cheddar, hard Italian cheese (like parmesan), and a soft Italian cheese (like fontina). Now, because this is mostly just starch and fat (and protein too, yes), it’s good to have a veggie along side. I typically either add chopped, roasted butternut squash to the noodles, or just have roasted broccoli on the side.
After being finished in the oven, the mac and cheese is super creamy, gooey, with a little bit of a crispy top. Perfect.
Tofu Macaroni and Cheese
1 box macaroni noodles
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed chili flakes
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs flour
1/2 cup milk
1 hermetically sealed box of silken tofu, pureed
1 packed cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 packed cup shredded parmesan cheese
3/4 packed cup shredded or cubed fontina cheese
salt and pepper
Cholula or tabasco sauce
Preheat the oven to 400. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package, minus about 1-2 minutes so it’s very al dente. Pour into a large baking dish and set aside.
Combine the parmesan and cheddar cheeses, set 1/2 cup aside for later.
As the pasta cooks, melt the butter together with the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the chili flakes and garlic and sautee till fragrant. Add the flour and stir around for about 2-5 minutes until the flour is golden. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring as you pour. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the milk thickens. Add the tofu and bring up to a simmer.
Slowly add the larger portion of mixed cheese and the fontina, stirring as you add. The cheese should slowly melt. You can leave some of it not quite fully melted, which will make for yummy, extra gooey bites in the final dish. Once the cheese is as incorporated as you like it, add salt, pepper, and chili sauce to taste. Pour over the pasta and stir to combine. Top with the reserved 1/2 cup cheese.
Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the top is just golden and crispy.