We've watched a lot of tennis this summer between Wimbledon, the Olympics, and now the US Open, so I thought it was about time to add this recipe for my favorite stove top mac and cheese with racquet pasta and little pea and zucchini "tennis balls." I prefer stove top to the baked variety because a) it saves a step; and b) at least when I make it, it's creamier. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.
Anyway, this one is easy to customize and you toss the veggies into the pasta water for the last few minutes of cooking to save even more work.
Grand Slam Mac and Cheese
8 oz Pasta
5-6 mini or 1 medium zucchini
1 cup peas
1 cup cheese (mixture of cheddar, parmesan, muenster, etc)
1 cup whole milk
1.5 Tbsp flour
1.5 Tbsp butter
Generous pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp mustard powder
Bring water to a boil. In a separate pan, melt butter over a medium-low flame. Add flour, stirring constantly to break up lumps. When butter and flour are bubbling, turn flame all the way down and continue stirring until the mixture has turned a slightly darker shade of brown (bubbles go from large to small and the color is more of a wheat/blond than white/cream). Add milk and stir until mixture thickens (texture goes from milk to cream to buttermilk). Stir in the nutmeg and mustard powder. Add cheese and stir to melt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Should make about 1.25 cups of cheese sauce.
Cook pasta according to package directions. When the pasta reaches al dente (they usually give a cooking time for al dente and one for more well done), add the chopped zucchini and peas. Let cook for another 3 minutes until the zucchini loses its bite and the peas are warmed through.
When done, drain the pasta and return to the hot pan. Immediately add the cheese sauce and stir. Check seasonings.