Weekly Winner – A Last Minute Substitution

In the interest of full disclosure, I did not make this week’s “Weekly Winner” this week.  I did, however, eat it last night.  Let me explain.  I had every intention of this week’s Winner being the Meatball Stroganoff I made on Sunday.  It was great.  I mean come on, it was meatball stroganoff!  However, last night we had what in this house is lovingly known as Freezer Pasta.  Freezer Pasta is a recipe that usually makes 6-10 servings, but which also sounds too good to cut down in size to only serve 2-4.  The whole batch is made and half of it gets stashed in the freezer for some future enjoyment. (This also serves to support my food hoarding problem which I outlined in https://donnasquickqi.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-hoarder-in-all-of-us/).

Alpine MacAnyway, back to last night’s dinner.  It was Alpine Mac & Cheese and I have made this recipe several times before.  I just don’t remember it actually ever being this good.  We originally had this particular rendition back around the holidays and even then we commented that it tasted better than we remembered.  So when it was thawed and reheated last night, and still impressed me with how good it was, well, the swap was made.  The recipe comes from Cuisine at Home magazine.

As for the meatball stroganoff, well stay tuned… you never know when it might show up here.

Alpine Mac & Cheese

For the topping:

1/2 c. fresh, seeded rye bread

2 T. minced parsley

2 T. unsalted butter, melted

salt and pepper

For the Casserole:

8 oz. dry cavatappi or elbow macaroni

8 oz. kielbasa, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

1 T. olive oil

2 T. unsalted butter

2 T. minced shallots

1 T. caraway seeds

2 T. flour

2 1/2 c. whole milk, warmed

1 c. Gouda

1 c. Gruyere

3 T. Dijon

1 T. Worchestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 400 and coat 2 qt. baking dish with cooking spray

For topping, combine ingredients.

Cook pasta, drain and set aside. Brown Kielbasa in oil and transfer to plate. Melt butter in same pot over medium high heat. Add shallots and caraway seeds; cook until seeds are toasted, about 3 min.

Whisk in flour, coating shallots; cook 1 minute.   Whisk in milk and cook, whisking often until thickened slightly about 5-8 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheeses by the handful, whisking until melted before adding next handful. Stir in Dijon and Worcestershire, then stir in pasta and kielbasa; transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle bread topping over casserole and bake until sauce is bubbly and crumbs brown (about 20-25 min). Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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