Cake, Batter, and Bowl

Cheddar, Feta, and Pecorino Romano Mac & Cheese

Main Dishes

First of all, thanks to everyone who entered my blogiversary giveaway. A few of you correctly guessed the very common ingredient I don’t like is….black pepper! In fact, when Apolinaras wants to make sure I don’t dig into his portion of mac & cheese, he’ll sprinkle black pepper all over it. Celery was another popular guess, and while it’s not my favorite, I do enjoy it in stuffing, gumbo, and jambalaya. So, congrats to commenter number 52, Danielle, who guessed correctly and won the $80 CSN Stores gift card! The cookbooks went to commenters 54 and 81, Reeni and Amaranthian, who chose Mexican Everyday and 660 Curries, respectively.

Speaking of mac & cheese, I’ve admitted before that I sometimes make boxed mac and cheese with a few modifications to spice it up (I usually I use half the amount of butter, add buttermilk, and tons of cheddar cheese). One day I ran out of cheddar and randomly threw in the only two types of cheese in our fridge at the time – pecorino romano and feta. I really enjoyed it and knew I would have to make a homemade version with sharp cheddar, feta, and the pecorino – so good! I baked this version and spread a nice layer of crispy pita chips on top. This is the perfect comfort food for a cold day.

Cheddar, Feta, and Pecorino Romano Mac & Cheese
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound whole wheat rotelle pasta
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta
1 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup crushed pita chips (I used 2 1.5-ounce bags from Stacey’s)

Directions:
Heat oven to 350˚F. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and place back in a large pot.

Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and cook one more minute or until mixture starts to brown. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and mix in cheddar cheese, feta, pecorino romano, and salt. Heat 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth (note – my chunks of feta didn’t melt). Mix cheese sauce with cooked pasta in the large pot. Pour pasta into a 1 1/2 quart oval stoneware baking dish.

Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until melted. Mix crushed pita chips and melted butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle chips evenly over mac & cheese and bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and pita topping is golden brown. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition: 602 calories, 30.5g fat, 5.9g fiber, 26.5g protein per serving
Cost: $1.09 per serving

Walnut Chicken Strips with Rosemary Cider Sauce

I was a really picky eater growing up, like sort of embarrassingly picky looking back...but I was always up for chicken strips or nuggets. In fact, even if they weren’t on the menu, I’d do my best to find a way to order them. At Chinese restaurants, for example, I...

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Whenever I think of Cajun pasta, I think of Emeril. Remember when he was on the Food Network 24/7? I became a big fan of his after visiting his restaurant NOLA in New Orleans with my good college friends Susie and Britt over New Year’s 2002. I remember enjoying a...

Basil Quinoa with Chicken, Eggplant, Zucchini, and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Apolinaras has quite the green thumb. Our apartment has a Juliet balcony, which is basically a huge sliding glass door that opens to umm, the bars of the balcony like this one. So as you can imagine, there's really not much room for plants, but Apolinaras is quite the...

Walnut Crusted Pineapple Chicken

The last part of our trip was spent on the Lithuanian coast in several resort towns by the Baltic Sea. We were there pretty early in the season so it was still a bit chilly at the beach and I just got my feet wet, although Apolinaras actually swam a couple of days! We...

Thai Burgers with Plum Sauce and Spicy Slaw

I’ve slowly been working on a few recipes to go with my recap posts about our amazing trip to New Zealand, but I haven’t even started to go through all our pictures. The task just seems too overwhelming...but today I have a little teaser post – Thai turkey burgers...

Naan Flatbread with Curried Chickpeas and Edamame

I spent the first part of this week at a conference in Vermont with my lab mate Dave. The food at these things tends to be pretty mediocre, but we did have a delicious meal at American Flatbread in downtown Burlington (which was a super cute area!). Our flatbread was...

Spring Goat Cheese Risotto

What’s one to do with leftover goat cheese and asparagus? Why make a goat cheese risotto with spring veggies, of course! Risotto has been a little controversial on Top Chef lately. Apparently, it’s supposed to spread on the plate and be a certain consistency to be...

Christmas Mac & Cheese (aka Three Cheese Mac & Cheese with Roasted Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomatoes)

Happy Hanukah! Merry Almost Christmas! We’re on a bus right now headed to New York City, where we’ll be spending the holidays with my family. I’m really looking forward to eating our way through the city, and I’m especially excited about heading over to The...