>Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese

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Today, in the produce section, I had a moment. I saw the squash display. Nope, not of the summer varietal. There it was, staring straight at me. Winter squash. I wanted to pick up a spaghetti squash and cradle it in my arms like a newborn baby. Okay, not really. Or, possibly really. You’ll never know the truth.

But I already had a plan and spaghetti squash wasn’t part of it. And I never have a plan. Ask anyone who knows me. My “plans” often sound like this, “I plan on planning on planning on _______” <—- insert something that should have been done last week in the blank. So now you can follow my intent today to strictly adhere to said plan. I’m trying to turn a new leaf. For instance, tonight I read power point handouts on the treadmill. Now I can pick up Bourdain’s book again without feeling like I should be studying. Oh, Hai new me!

Well, the plan was to make the caramelized sweet potato mac & cheese from Joanne. So I kept walking and grabbed sweet potatoes instead. I’m glad I did. It was tasty and I now have enough of it left to eat nothing but sweet potato mac & cheese for the next 5 days. I’m not complaining. But I don’t plan on doing that. Because, well, I don’t make plans… usually.

Caramelized Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese 

IMG_2523

Serves 4
5 cloves garlic
1/2 lb sweet potato
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb pasta (I used Whole Wheat Shells)
2 tbsp light butter
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
12 oz almond milk
1 cup reduced fat cheese (I used whatever I had in the fridge)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 tbsp bread crumbs (I used Whole Wheat, Italian Seasoned)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the sweet potatoes. Boil with garlic for five minutes. Mash the garlic with a fork and set aside.

IMG_2517 Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the sweet potato slices for 5 minutes or until caramelized, flipping every minute or so. Set aside. I used this Roasted Garlic Olive Oil from the Temecula Olive Oil Company… it’s straight from Temecula, CA (by way of Augusta, Maine!)

IMG_2518 Boil water and cook pasta. Prepare cheese sauce. Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 3 minutes. Whisk in milk, slowly. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 minute, whisking all the while. Mix in all of the cheese, 2 tbsp of the parmesan cheese, the salt, pepper and rosemary until the cheese is melted. Mix in the garlic and the sweet potato and pour into pasta.

Pour the pasta/cheese/sweet potato mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and remaining 2 tbsp parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden.

IMG_2526I have a very content belly and a half-full glass of wine so I’m off to cuddle up with puppy and Anthony (Bourdain, that is). 

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