It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, hasn’t it? The truth is I’ve been extra busy in the kitchen lately thanks to our weekly CSA delivery, but I’ve slacked off a little on taking photos of my everyday cooking. A couple nights ago, I whipped up this quick stovetop mac and cheese recipe to accompany some leafy greens. It’s creamy without being too rich, which seems perfect for the summertime. Plus, it’s loaded with paprika — my favorite!
Easy Stovetop Mac & Cheese
Serves 4 | Prep: 25 minutes
8 oz elbow macaroni
2 tbsp herbed butter/margarine
1-1/2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy milk
1-1/2 tsp paprika
1-1/2 cups finely grated cheddar
Salt and pepper
Cook the macaroni according package directions. Meanwhile, grate the cheddar into fine ribbons. Once the mac reaches al dente, set aside 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Drain the mac and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the herbed butter/margarine over medium heat. Whisk in the arrowroot powder until it forms a thick paste. Add the soy milk and cooking water that you saved from cooking the mac. Continue whisking it becomes a thick, saucy mixture.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the paprika and cheddar until the cheese is completely melted. Season well with salt and pepper.
In small batches, gently fold the mac into the cheese mixture. You want every mac to be lightly coated in the cheese sauce. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired. No one wants an under seasoned mac and cheese! Serve hot with greens on the side.
I used a microplane grater to grate the cheddar as the fine ribbons of cheese melt so easily and evenly as soon as they hit the saucepan. You can buy pre-shredded cheese from the grocery store, but those are treated with anti-clumping agents and often don’t melt as nicely.
If you don’t have herbed butter/margarine, you can use regular butter/margarine, but you may want to add some chopped herbs into the cheese mixture. I used a chive margarine that I made earlier in the day. Super simple: 1/4 cup of finely chopped chives mixed into one softened stick of margarine, plus sea salt and pepper. It’s a great way to use up fresh herbs!
You may want to start with 1/2 tsp paprika, then taste and adjust to your liking. I’m a huge fan of paprika, so I went pretty heavy with it in this recipe. If you’re using smoked paprika, you definitely want to go easy on the paprika as the smoky flavor might be too overwhelming.
If you’re using an oven/broiler safe saucepan, you can stick it in the broiler for a couple minutes at the very end to crisp the top. Since it was sweltering hot over here, there was no way I was going to turn on the oven!