Original and Practical Recipes. Inexpensive, Quick and Healthy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

BBQ Macaroni and Cheese

This weeks Mac and Cheese is inspired by Dinosaur Bar-b-Que in Manhattan.  Their mac and cheese is rich, creamy, and full of flavor.  It is topped with a thick crisp layer of cheddar cheese with barbeque spice.  It is some of the best mac and cheese I have ever tasted.

Determined to recreate Dinosaur's mac, I did some online research to try and determine the ingredients.  I was not surprised to learn that theirs includes 4 different cheeses - totaling to 2 1/2 pounds of cheese.  The reason why it is so creamy?  They use half and half instead of milk.

So the challenge was to create an equally tasty, but lower fat version of the Dinosaur Mac and Cheese.  I have made changes to the recipe, using Whole Milk instead of half and half, and a blend of cheddar and pecorino instead of 4 cheeses.  Another difference is that Dinosaur uses a blender to mix onion and green pepper into the cheese sauce.  I do not own a blender and decided to grate the onion and pepper instead.

Total time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8

You will need:
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/3 cup Onion, grated
1/4 cup Green Pepper, grated
1 clove pressed Garlic
3 cups whole milk
1/4 flour
2 cups reduced fat shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons BBQ Spice, divided
1 pound tubular Pasta
Step 1:
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.  Cook al dente.  Drain.

Step 2:
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pot.  Add the onion and pepper and saute for 3 minutes.  Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the flour, and then whisk in the milk.  Bring to a boil then let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens.

Step 3:
Add 2 cups reduced fat cheddar and the Pecorino Romano to the milk mixture.  Stir until completely melted and then add in the salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon BBQ Spice.

Step 4:
Pour the drained pasta into the pot with the sauce.  Stir together.  Then pour into a greased casserole dish.  Top with 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar and 1 teaspoon BBQ Spice.

Step 5:
Place under the broiler until the top has browned.  This will only take a couple minutes, watch it carefully.  Serve immediately.

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