Monday, November 05, 2007

Macaroni and Cheese That Packs Nutritional Bang!

Macaroni and cheese is one of the best comfort foods out there. You just can’t beat it in my book. This recipe (from Good Housekeeping) has a new take on an old classic and it’s just as delicious yet actually provides some nutritional value.



1 package (16 ounces) multigrain or whole wheat rotini or penne pasta
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons margarine
1 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) or cracker crumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
Salt and ground black pepper
10 ounces reduced-fat (2%) sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped

1. Heat large covered saucepot of water to boiling over high heat. Add pasta and cook 2 minutes less than label directs. Drain pasta; transfer to large bowl. Stir in tomatoes; set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In microwave-safe small bowl, heat 1 tablespoon margarine in microwave oven on High 20 seconds or until melted. Stir in panko and 1/4 cup grated Romano until blended; set aside.

3. Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan, melt remaining tablespoon margarine over medium heat; add onion and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.

4. In 4-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk cornstarch into milk until blended. Whisk milk mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into onion mixture in saucepan; heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Boil sauce 1 minute to thicken slightly. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in Cheddar, basil, and remaining Romano until cheeses melt. Stir cheese mixture into pasta mixture.

5. Transfer pasta mixture to six 1 1/2-cup au gratin dishes or one 13" by 9" glass baking dish; top with panko mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until center is hot and top is lightly browned.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (based on individual servings)
Calories: 645
Total Fat: 21 g
Saturated Fat: 11 g
Cholesterol: 56 mg
Sodium: 1055 mg
Carbohydrates: 82 g
Fiber: 8 g
Protein: 34 g

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