And the 2015 Dish of the Year is…

The 2015 Dish of the Year has definitely been… Mac and Cheese.

Believe me, I cater more than 200 high-end events a year in Florida, and it seems like all my clients want some version of my Mac and Cheese.

Lobster Mac and Cheese, Truffle Mac and Cheese, Stone Crab Mac and Cheese, you-name-it Mac and Cheese…

People who entertain in style like to go back to the basics, and enjoy comfort foods with a fancy twist. Who can blame them? Everybody loves Mac and Cheese.

The only problem is: it’s pretty fattening. Unless you know how to fix this recipe.

You see, this is the way I hack it:

  1. Replace regular pasta with whole-grain pasta.
  2. Slightly undercook the pasta (it helps with weight loss).
  3. Replace white flour with whole-grain flour.
  4. Add some green vegetables to the dish.
  5. Use low-fat or part-skim dairy instead of full fat.

Use as little fat as possible, and choose extra-virgin olive whenever possible.

 

Shrimp Whole Grain Mac And Cheese

Active time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound whole grain pasta
  • 24 peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 2 tbsps. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tbsp. whole-grain flour
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of kale, chopped
  • 3 cups low-fat milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • ½ cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s instruction, minus 2 minutes.
  3. Drain, drizzle with a little olive oil, and set aside.
  4. To make the Alfredo sauce, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a medium-size heavy saucepan.
  5. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until smooth and thick.
  7. Whisk in milk all at once and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly.
  8. Add shrimp and kale. Turn heat to very low and simmer, whisking often and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Remove from heat.
  9. Pour sauce while hot into the bowl with the pasta. Mix well. Scrape into an ovenproof dish and top with mozzarella.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and the top is lightly browned.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
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