Thursday, November 17, 2011

Manchego and Sorrel Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese - is it possible that it is more American and apple pie? Quite possibly, but I am sure there are those who will dispute it. My savory tooth will always gravitate towards cheese rather than pie (and do not even talk to me about cheddar cheese with your apple pie! That abomination is not even acknowledged in my presence!) But this story is really about setting tradition aside for discovering interesting combinations and hiding healthy in cheesy goodness.

Sorrel, the distinctively French and lemony green, has made its fall appearance in the farmers' market. Last year I made a traditional sorrel soup and while it was delicious I was looking for a more substantial meal and thought of tucking it into some mac and cheese. The strong lemony flavor definitely needed some tempering and an aged manchego was just the cheese for the job.

Manchego is made from the raw milk of sheep that have fed on the mountainous hillsides of the La Mancha region in Spain. Aged manchego has the dry, nutty flavor of parmesan and melts unevenly like the Italian cheese. It also is perfect on a cheese plate and you have yet to try it, treat yourself and delight your guests!

I am sending this over to HoneyB of the Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honey Bunch who is hosting Presto Pasta Nights this week. Enjoy!

Manchego and Sorrel Mac and Cheese
(serves 3-4)

1/2 pound penne pasta
1 cup aged manchego cheese, grated fine
1 bunch sorrel (1/2 lb), washed
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
extra cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wilt sorrel in covered pot with just the water clinging to its leaves from washing it. Drain and press out excess liquid and set aside. (It will go from bright green to a sickly looking dark green, that's how it should be). Cook pasta as directed, undercooking by a minute or so. Meanwhile make white sauce by melting butter in small skillet and add flour and whisk to combine and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden and bubbling. Turn heat down to low and add milk 1/4 cup at a time, whisking continually to incorporate. Salt to taste and cook until it has thickened but still runs off the spoon. Drain pasta and pour sauce over pasta and add cheese and sorrel and mix well. Season with salt and pepper (I used a ton, the sorrel really needs that for balance). Since this was a half batch I used a glass bread pan which worked well. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and finish with more grated cheese if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until top is lightly browned and crisp. Allow to rest 5 minutes since sauce will be pipping hot.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Tiramisu at Educated Palate
Mushroom in Brown Sauce on Puff Pastry at Thyme for Cooking
Chipotle Meatballs at Simply Recipes


Reeni said...

I love manchego! But sorrel - can you believe I never had it? The way you describe it sounds delicious! Hope you are well! xoxo

Shelby said...

Sounds like a great twist on an all American dish! Thank you for participating in PPN this week!

Ruth Daniels said...

I've never tried sorrel either. Must give it a try. Thanks for sharing this with Presto Pasta Nights.