[1] Autumn mac and cheese, with whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes and kale (photos #1 and #2 © North Carolina Sweet Potatoes).


[2] Beautiful sweet potatoes, grown in North Carolina.


[3] This variety of kale is variously called black Tuscan, dinosaur or lacinato (photo © Good Eggs).

 

Macaroni and cheese is a favorite in many households: comfort food that sticks to your ribs.

For an autumn touch, this macaroni and cheese recipe incorporates sweet potatoes and kale—not just as seasonal accents, but for added nutrition, too.

It also uses whole wheat pasta, and changes things up by using rotini instead of elbow macaroni.

Originating in northern Italy, rotini are spirals or twists like fusilli, but shorter—about 1-½ inches long, with a tighter spiral that helps retain the sauce better.

They are popularly used in pasta salads as well. For other substitutes, try fusilli, gemelli, penne, rotelle or torchio.

This recipe was developed by the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission, which has many recipes for sweet potatoes (including a sweet potato ice pop!).
 
 
RECIPE: AUTUMN MAC & CHEESE

Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes. Be sure not to cook the pasta beyond al dente, because it will get softer when baked.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (about 2 cups)
  • 6 cups whole wheat pasta (rotini shown in photo)
  • 2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup lowfat milk
  • 1¼ cups shredded mozzarella (or cheese of choice), plus a handful more for topping
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°. Coat the inside of a large casserole dish with olive oil or butter.

    2. PREPARE the pasta according to package directions, cooking to al dente. While the pasta is cooking…

    3. Sauté the kale and spices in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Set aside.

    4. DRAIN the cooked pasta and let cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled, add the pasta, mashed sweet potatoes, spices, and kale to medium bowl and stir to combine.

    5. WHISK together in a small bowl the eggs, milk and cheese, and add to the pasta and sweet potato mixture. Mix well and and pour into a large casserole dish. Top with the extra mozzarella.

    6. BAKE for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the top begins to brown.

    ________________

    *Italian Seasoning Recipe: Combine 2 tablespoons dried basil, 2 tablespoons dried oregano, 2 tablespoons dried parsley, 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon dried thyme. Store in a tightly-capped container.

     

      


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