Happy national macaroni and cheese day Diamonds! This pasta dish is definitely not your average Mac and cheese like we’re all used to, and can instantly taste in our mouths if we think of our childhood, but that isn’t to say that this is not as cheesy, or as delicious because it very well is both! This delectable mac is extremely thick, creamy, cheesy, and tangy, along with a yummy burst of summer freshness! You’ll see why very soon!!
Since most macaroni and cheese recipes include a good amount of butter.. we’re going to start with three tablespoons of butter, and one tablespoon of olive olive so that nothing burns in the cooking process.
- Once the butter is melted, and begins to bubble.. add in one small diced red onion for extreme flavor on medium high heat. This onion is the key to a bit of sweetness, and big flavor to our entire pasta dish!
- Seasonings- Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. I really enjoy adding seasonings in the beginning of the cooking process on top of the onions because those flavors will keep releasing as time goes on.
Usually when caramelizing onions, I cook them on medium-low heat for about 45 minutes so they form a jam consistency. In this case that’s not what we’re exactly looking for here. You want the onions be become translucent, but to also get a brown and crispy coating to them, so they transfer immense flavor into our macaroni and cheese. That is the idea!
- After about fifteen minutes of sautéing the onions, add 1/4 cup of marsala wine, so we can get all the fond (the crispy brown bits that get stuck to the bottom of the pan from cooking/saute-ing.) off the bottom of the pan insuring that this dish isn’t mixing out on any flavor!
- Right after you start deglazing the pan, you can boil your noodle of choice! I actually wanted to have some fun with this so I used mini shells, as well as tri-colored rotini noodles!
Now Diamonds, this is the most important part in my opinion! I even do this when I make regular macaroni and cheese with no vegetables, using Cooper sharp cheese.
- Throw in half of a block of whole fat cream cheese. Adding cream cheese to any dish is going to make it that much more mouth watering.
I don’t know what it is, but adding dijon mustard to a sauce with any sort of wine just gives a dish such an awesome robust flavor, and it gives everything an overall amazing tang that we look for when we have insane creaminess, and sweetness happening all around.
I threw in an entire bag of frozen peas. You could do fresh, or frozen, but definitely skip out on the ones that come from the can for this particular dish. I do love them truthfully which I know some people are so grossed out by them, but they’re just nostalgic to me, but for this macaroni and cheese they would be way too mushy. It simply wouldn’t work. We’re for sure looking for that pop, and burst of freshness; not softness!! Along with the bright green baby peas, I dumped in a whole regular sized container of ricotta cheese. Between the ricotta cheese and cream cheese, the pasta is really going to begin to get drenched in some cheesy goodness!
For some nutrition and more color.. I tossed in two handfuls of spinach, and just let that wilt into the rest of the mixture.
As soon as the spinach starts to wilt down, put your noodles into our luxurious cheese mixture, and fold everything together!
This different, yet decadent macaroni & cheese is elegant, classy, and absolutely incredible to celebrate it’s national holiday with! Of course the flavors are a little more amped up, and it’s not the mac and cheese your kids are used to, but I’m positive that if you serve this tonight for your dinner along with their favorite chicken nuggets, they’ll love it just as much as usual! If you are making this for your significant other to surprise them when they arrive home from a long day at work.. maybe consider mixing a bit of jumbo lump crab meat in when you add the peas, as well as laying a beautiful filet mignon next to it all! It is really the perfect macaroni and cheese for any occasion.. just not what you’re used to, but equally as great! Being that the world isn’t what were used to right now Diamonds, let’s change up our food as well! What do you say ?! 🙂