I lived on campus when I was completing my undergraduate degree. The rent we paid included food in a refectory where there were strict dress standards. No just wandering in wearing ripped jeans and t-shirts. The deal was pretty good in terms of the amount of rent we paid but as with most food in these settings, it was not exactly fabulous food. But if I had a morning where I hadn’t had to go to class, the idea of getting dressed up to eat ok food was not very appealing.
Most university students here in Australia have a reputation for living on two minute noodles to save money. I am not sure if this is true or not but my food of choice was pasta with cream cheese spread melted through it. We only had a microwave in the small kitchen area of the accommodation block and I can’t remember exactly how I used to make this. I must have microwaved the pasta then plopped on some cream cheese spread and zapped it to make the cheese runny. Not very gourmet but it has creamed cheese so it can’t be all bad can it?
Because of these experiences, I have never really seen mac and cheese as a dish to cook. But the cheese sauce on this healthy mac and cheese from a pinch of yum looked so good that I thought I had to give it another try. Plus who can turn down the idea of cheesy pasta that is healthy. The recipe is here:
I used the following ingredients to make this:
- 50g of fusilli pasta
- 1 tsp butter
- ¼ brown onion
- 1 cup of butternut pumpkin (butternut squash)
- 1 and ¼ cups of chicken stock (about 310ml)
- 3 tbs milk (45ml)
- ¼ tsp of salt
- 1/5 cup of shredded cheese – I used gruyere like pinch of yum
- Salt and pepper to taste
The pinch of yum site says this recipe has 369 calories and when I entered it on myfitnesspal it came out at about 340 calories. It is not a huge serving and something I would be more likely to have for lunch on a weekend than a dinner.
It takes about 25 minutes to make if you manage to time everything right. Not always my strength but I didn’t do too bad with this one. I put the water for the pasta on just as I started cooking the onions and that worked out well. But my stove takes forever to warm up and get water boiling. The preparation time for me was about 10 minutes but I was pretty slow with cubing the butternut pumpkin. I used fusilli pasta as that is what I had in rather than buying macaroni especially for this recipe.
Would I make this again? Probably not. Partly because I am lazy and three pots to make mac and cheese doesn’t seem like a good use of my time. I kept putting off making the recipe because of the number of pots involved which probably shows I was not that enthused by this recipe. The sauce was nice but not as cheesy as I had hoped. It had quite a pumpkin taste to it. I am not sure I liked the pumpkin and pasta combination. I may not have caramelised the onions properly but what I should have done is upped the cheese and the calories.
Having said I wasn’t that keen on the sauce on the pasta, the sauce in itself was pretty good and if you were having people over for dinner, I think it would make a good sauce on top of say a nice poached chicken breast and maybe even a steak. I think the flavours were just about strong enough to balance with a steak.