This version of macaroni and cheese calls for rigatoni instead of the usual macaroni, reduces the butter and cheese by 30 percent, and adds fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes. Simple as it is to make, it rivals the taste of pasta dishes from excellent northern Italian restaurants.
- 12 ounces rigatoni (or other macaroni-type pasta)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and dried between paper towels
- Cook the rigatoni according to package directions and drain.
- Melt the butter, sauté the onions until tender, and blend in the flour, salt, and pepper. Stir until light golden in color, then add the milk.
- Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cheese, stirring until melted.
- Remove from heat and add the rigatoni, basil, and tomatoes.
- Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Serve.
Terri Wuerthner is an herb lover and food developer in Palo Alto, California.