So, I am cheating a little with this one. Technically, I did not have Mac and Cheese when I was a child. Growing up in Australia it was not something I was aware of, however, once I moved to Canada, I soon found this warm, gooey, cheesy, pasta and fell in love at first bite. I soon made up for lost time and probably consumed an entire childhoods worth in the first couple of years living here. So, I guess this is my “second childhood” meal memory.
As a vegan, I searched around for a great version of this dish and finally found this recipe by Isa Chandra at the Post Punk Kitchen. If you have not yet visited her site, you should head on over there pronto. The recipe Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese is so good, when I made it, I ate the entire pot full.
Roasted Red Pepper Mac & Cheese
By Post Punk Kitchen
Yield: 2 large servings
1/2 pound macaroni or other small pasta
3/4 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced medium
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
1 roasted red pepper (jarred or homemade)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons pizza seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1. Preheat a 2 quart sauce pot over medium heat. Sauté onions in oil with a pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, then transfer to a blender or food processor.
2. Boil a large pot of salted water for cooking the pasta. Once boiling, cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the vegetable broth, corn starch, nutritional yeast, red peppers, tomato paste, pizza seasoning, salt, mustard and turmeric. Blend until very smooth. Scrape down the sides every 30 seconds or so and test for smoothness.
4. Transfer the sauce in the blender back to the sauce pot where you cooked the onions. Turn the heat up to medium and let cook, stirring very often, until thickened. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. Taste for salt. It should taste slightly salty because you’re going to be pouring it on the pasta.
5. The pasta should be done while the sauce is thickening, so drain and place pasta back in the pot you cooked it in. Set aside.
6. When sauce is thickened, add it to the pasta in the pot, and use a large slotted spoon to mix well, taking care not to break the pasta.