I always feel a bit nostalgic when the leaves start to change. This is a perfect, cozy dinner to celebrate the changing of the seasons that may (or may not) take you down memory lane. You know how I feel about “imitation” foods. To say this tastes just like the Kraft blue box mac n’ cheese you grew up with would be setting you up for disappointment. And that would be a real shame because you would miss out on it’s unique deliciousness! But it did feel familiar to me and I couldn’t come up with another name. At least, not a pithy one. The sauce is a combination of sauteed onions, garlic, spices, non-dairy milk and nutritional yeast; it is savory and -for lack of a better word- cheesy! Happy eating! -Amanda
Shells & Cheese
1/2 tablespoon olive oil or non-dairy butter
1/2 tablespoon flour
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 cup unsweetened soymilk or other non-dairy milk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups pasta, dry
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1. In a saucepan, combine oil and flour to create a roux. Cook over medium low heat until it turns a light golden color.
2. Add onions to the sautee pan. Stir in the roux until coated and onions begin to soften. Add spices, and tomato paste. Add garlic and cook until soft.
3. Add soymilk and whisk vigorously. Add nutritional yeast flakes, and stir until combined. It will begin to thicken.
4. Add agave, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a food processor or blender, or blend using an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. Return to the stove, set over low heat and proceed with the pasta and broccoli.
5. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt heavily and cook pasta according to packaged instructions. For the last 3-5 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli.
6. Drain pasta and broccoli, and toss with the sauce. Serve immediately. Preferably with roses and candles. Who says shells and cheese can’t be grown up?