Thursday, March 1, 2012
SWEET POTATO MAC AND CHEEZE MY WAY
When I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago I noticed that four cooking magazines showcased Mac and Cheese on their cover, each picture more rich and gooey than the other. Do the magazine editors sit down and agree on the same thing and try to outdo each other or does everyone crave Mac and Cheese when it gets colder?
My answer is Mac and Cheese is good any time of the year! This version is easy to make and easy on the waistline.
1 pound whole grain pasta
1 large sweet potato
2 cloves garlic minced
1 large leek cleaned and chopped (a medium onion will work fine too)
2 medium sized tomatoes chopped or
1 can chopped tomatoes with some of the juices drained
1 can coconut milk
½ cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons toasted cumin, ground
1 teaspoon Northwoods Fire (a spicy mixture by Penzeys Spices of salt, chipotle pepper, Hungarian paprika, garlic, rosemary, thyme, black pepper and cayenne ) optional
Red pepper flakes to taste
A squeeze of lemon, lime or vinegar to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Start the pasta water and cook pasta according manufacturer’s directions.
Meanwhile steam the peeled and chopped sweet potato in a medium sized saucepan with an inch or two of water until tender - about 10 minutes.
At the same time in a large frying pan sauté the garlic and leeks in the olive oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until soft and glossy. Add the chopped tomatoes and spices and heat through a few more minutes.
While the leek mixture is simmering, add the sweet potatoes, coconut milk and nutritional yeast to a blender. Be careful since the potatoes are hot. Blend until smooth and then add to the simmering vegetables. Adjust seasoning to taste. I added about a tablespoon of vinegar and red pepper flakes.
(White wine could be added to the leeks during the initial sautéing. If I had thought about it earlier I would have done that. This recipe is very flexible to your taste. You can make it sweeter or spicier. A squeeze of lemon or lime at the end would be good too.)