Savory Mac and Cheese with Ricotta

I’ve been big into cheeses lately. And what better way to enjoy vegan cheeses than to play around with some of the recipes by Miyoko Schinner in her amazing book Artisan Vegan Cheese ? (You can also go to her main page here ).

I actually met Ms. Schinner last year at The Vegetarian Food Festival in NYC and was able to attend her talk (and yay- she signed my copy of her book!).  She really is an incredibly remarkable woman and very funny!  She has some really great anecdotes with her stories too.

I’ve made a few of her recipes in recent months and while there’s a bit of a learning curve. (I tried to do the air dried cheddar first which as it turns out, is one of the more difficult recipes, Go figure.)  So far everything I’ve made from her book has been phenomenal regardless of whether or not it turned out exactly right.

The ricotta recipe that I’m using in this mac and cheese I’ve also smeared on toast, stuffed it in crepes and tossed it in with other dinners.  It’s been incredibly versatile and I loved how easy it was to make!  Make sure to give it a try and since there will be extra, make sure to use some of it in this recipe! 

Look at this beauty- how could you not want to make it??  I made it a few times this past week to make some adjustments and improve it and I can confidently say that it is DELICIOUS and not only is it dairy-free, it’s gluten-free too!  So really, there’s no reason not to jump up and make it right away!

Unless, of course, you have other things that need to get done.  In that case, just make sure to mark it down on your to-do list to make as soon as you can.  

‘Cause you’ll be happy you did eventually make it.  Trust me.

 

Savory Mac and Cheese with Ricotta – Serves 2-3

1 Cup Gluten-Free Elbow Macaroni (I like quinoa, amaranth and brown rice blends)

2 TBSP Earth Balance Margarine

1 Shallot, thinly sliced

1 Cup Packed Baby Kale (or Spinach) roughly chopped

1 Medium Tomato, chopped and extra juice drained

2 Sprigs of Thyme, minced

*3/4 Cup Ricotta (recipe below)

1 TBSP Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Reserved Pasta Water

1/4 tsp Aleppo Pepper

Salt and Pepper, to Taste

1 TBSP Nutritional Yeast

1 1/2 TBSP Raw Hemp Seeds 

Cook pasta according to box directions but reserve some of the drained water for future use (this will help thicken your sauce).

In a large pan, melt margarine and saute shallot until it is soft, then add chopped kale and tomato and allow the kale to wilt before adding thyme, ricotta, lemon juice, reserved water, aleppo pepper and macaroni.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix until well combined and stir in hemp seeds and nutritional yeast.

*Macadamia Ricotta from Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner

2 cups raw macadamia nuts (soaked for 8-12hrs and drained)

1 Cup Water

Pinch of Salt

Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and creamy (it will almost be frothy).  Transfer to a non-reactive bowl and cover.  Allow it to rest for 12-24 hours depending on the room temperature.  You want it to be flavorful but not too tangy.  Cover and refrigerate up until 1 week, or freeze for one month.

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