"Sometimes we call it Magic Cheese," says the six-year-old as we head to the table.
We don't, but I love it, and silently decide that yes, we do call it that.
The three-year-old loudly protests that it's Maxie's Cheese and he's Maxie the Strong Man, remember?
You probably know it as that old vegan stand-by: the New Farm Mac n' Cheese.
As we sit down to eat, that almost first grader, that is currently the robot sitting across the table from me proclaims it to be the best. pasta. ever. in his robot monotone and so I try to take a picture, thinking that surely there's a quick blog post in here somewhere.
New Farm Vegan Mac 'n Cheese with Pan-Seared Kale
makes: about 4 servings
takes: about 15 minutes
Adapted from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook by Louise Hagler and Dorothy R. Bates, Book Publishing Company 1975
Hey, I almost always use the 10-ounce bag of colorful curly pasta from Trader Joe's - the colors actually come from dehydrated vegetables and so even if my kids protest to the broccoli or peas I've thrown in the cooking water and mixed in, there's still some vegetable impact. Lately though, I've just skipped this and seared up some kale in the cast iron skillet to crinkle over my own grown-up portion. The slightly smoky chew is a perfect contrast to this rich pasta. The kids will come around someday.
- 1 10-ounce bag pasta (check the label, if your bag is the more standard 16 ounces, you're gonna use a little more than half the bag)
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 3/4 cups boiling water (scooped out of the pasta pot)
- 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of turmeric
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- a couple handfuls torn kale, washed and dried
Put on a big pot of water. Once it's boiling, salt it generously, and add your pasta.
Now in a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat, and whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste called a roux. Contine to whisk this paste over the heat for about a minute to get the flour a tiny bit toasty.
Now, scoop 1 3/4 cups water (Do you have a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup? You probably should.) from the pasta pot, and slowly pour it into the roux, whisking to create a thin emulsified sauce. Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt, the soy sauce, garlic powder, and turmeric into the sauce and let it simmer until thickened - about a minute.
When the sauce has almost the consistency of a thick cheese sauce, remove it from the heat, and whisk in the nutritional yeast and a drizzle of canola oil until smooth. Taste for salt and add a pinch more if necessary.
When it's ready, drain the pasta and fold it into the sauce. Now, get your cast iron skillet really hot, drop the kale into the pan, and press it down with a metal spatula to quickly sear it before tossing it on top of the pasta. You'll know the kale is ready when it's wilted to the pan and you flip it over to find deep brown bubbly marks.
This is wonderful topped with vinegary hot sauce.