Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Mac and Cheese with Mustard Greens

Irish cheddar was on sale last weekend at the store, so I decided to buy a nice hunk of it thinking I could come up with some creative way to use it this week, being that it is St. Patty's.  I am not a big cheese person, and only eat it about once a week or on special occasions, but I figured since it was a holiday...I could splurge.  I had visions of some sort of vegetable pot pies, or a creamy potato cabbage cheese soup in my head, but then life happened and I had far less time this week to make anything that took any large amount of time.  But that cheese was still in my fridge begging to be used, and mac and cheese came to mind.  Now, I know most people when they make mac and cheese simply make a cheese sauce, and toss it with pasta, maybe a bit of breadcrumbs on top.  It is my firm belief however that it must contain lots of veggies along with all of that decadence. 

Yesterday's meal was no exception!  I was talking to my friend Gabrielle recently who is also a vegetarian and a wonderful cook who I often swap recipe and ingredient ideas with, and she gave me the brilliant idea to add mustard greens to my mac and cheese!  I knew I loved them in dal, or a salad with a creamy dressing, but she told me that they went wonderfully with the cheese cutting the richness.  So last night I decided to give the combination a try.  I also added some peas, sticking to the green veggie theme.  I used whole wheat fusili, which made for a beautiful mac and cheese as well as a delicious one!  It was so rich and creamy, full of flavor from the Irish cheddar, and the mustard greens were wonderful with a slight spicy flavor!  It was delicious!  Maybe not traditional Irish, but would be perfect for St. Patty's Day, especially if you are feeling decadent!  Here is the recipe if you would like some comfort food for a rainy spring day (since the snow is finally melting here in Minnesota)! 

Irish Mac and Cheese with Mustard Greens
Serves 4

8 oz whole wheat fusili or penne pasta

3 Tbsp organic butter or Earth Balance
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 cups organic milk or soymilk
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp dill seeds
1 Tbsp dried dill
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tsp dijon mustard
8 oz Irish Cheddar, grated
1 cup fresh or frozen baby peas
1 bunch mustard greens or kale, washed, dried and torn into small pieces

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, heat butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Add flour and whisk into butter.  Cook a few minutes, then slowly add milk while whisking to prevent lumps from forming.  When all milk has been added and is incorporated, add caraway, dill seeds, dill, sea salt, and pepper and dijon.  Cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes, then add cheddar and whisk to melt until well incorporated.  Add the peas and mustard greens, and cook until greens have wilted, then add pasta and toss well to coat with cheese sauce.  Serve hot! 


Island Vittles said...

great St. Patrick's day dish! I love greens in my Mac & Cheese too, and they're mandatory on March 16! Theresa

Sandra said...

Interesting use of Mustard Greens. They are my favorite greens.

Lizzy said...

I love that you add veggies to your mac and cheese...I'm definitely going to start doing that! Yum!

Belinda @zomppa said...

Ooo - love this. I am a huge fan of cheese, so this is totally my kind of dish!

Happy When Not Hungry said...

Wow this looks delicious! I love the mustard greens in this too. Yum!

Sandra said...

How creative this is..would never thought of it myself! Great job..I love your photos too!

veggietestkitchen said...

looks great. i have a really hard time resisting a plate of creamy cheesy anything ;)

Tiffany said...

This looks delish! I have never met a mac and cheese I didn't like! (As long as there's no meat in it :D)

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include the peas and mustard greens, and cook till greens have wilted, then include pasta and toss properly to coat with cheese sauce. Serve hot!
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