The other night, my good friend and food connoisseur Kacey send me a little texto with a gorgeous piece of salmon next to a heaping bowl of God sent tortellini pasta. During this time I was
slacking off dutifully doing some knaster inheritance procedure problems for math class (ie equally dividing up the goods from a dead person to their kids. good stuff that is). As I began drooling all over my textbook, I realized it had been a long while since I made any sort of pasta type dish. While pasta can occasionally be a challenge for me with the whole gluten sensitivity thing, HEB has these adorable little Quinoa elbow pasta shells that I really just couldn’t resist buying. And everyone knows that elbow pasta= mac n’ cheese. So, after rummaging around in my pantry, I came up with a delightful little dish that may sound quite chic and gourmet but, in reality, is quite simple and totally healthy: Pumpkin-Chèvre Mac n’ Cheese.
Personally, I am a goat cheese fiend. Reason #1- It’s incredibly easy to digest for lactose intolerants such as myself, due not to the lactose content but rather that the fat molecules are much smaller and fewer in goat cheese, making them much more digestible than your run of the mill gouda or brie. Who knew right?! Reason #2- I love its creamy texture and sweet taste. Now, there are many people in the world don’t enjoy the taste of goat cheese. That’s okay! Feel free to substitute it with mozzarella, american, or anything else you might prefer.
Additionally, pumpkin is one of my favorite things in the whole world. It not only makes this dish quite creamy but adds an extra bit of sweetness that contrasts incredibly well with the spices used. Really, the whole thing it’s similar to a flavor explosion and subsequent flavor metamorphosis in your mouth- from the sweetness of the pumpkin and cheese to that zing of pepper and orango and finally to a hint of salt from the pasta, this mac n’ cheese takes comfort food to a new, healthier level.
Pumpkin-Chèvre Mac n’ Cheese [Gluten-Free]
Yield- 1 serving (double or triple as needed!)
1/2 cup quinoa elbow pasta shells
2 teaspoons pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons chèvre goat cheese
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and bay leaf
In a small pot, bring pasta to boil with 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Allow to cook for 6-10 minutes until soft. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine milk, pumpkin puree, and 1 tablespoon of goat cheese over low heat, stirring constantly. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, dried oregano, and dried basil to taste. Bring to low-medium heat, add pasta, and cook for about 3 minutes. Garnish with 2 teaspoons goat cheese, a pinch pepper, one bay leaf, and serve!