You can feel good about splurging on Creamy Gourmet Mac and Cheese topped with Rock Shrimp. It’s full of healthy ingredient swaps…but your taste buds will never know!
Have I mentioned that a macaroni and cheese obsession has been going on at our house…since I can’t remember when? Yep. We have it
several 4-5 times a month…at least. And, we’re not talking about the 3-minute deal with questionable cheese. We like the real stuff!
The creamier and cheesier the better. We’ve been playing around with the cheese choices. Our favorite combination is sharp cheddar, fontina and Parmesan cheeses.
Since this family favorite is here to stay, my only choice in the matter was to join the party and make things as healthy as possible. The easy switch was exchanging white pasta for a high fiber alternative. To that end, I have boxes and boxes (and boxes) of high fiber pasta shells in my pantry so I can whip up a batch at a moment’s notice (or make some Pantry Pasta Fagioli Soup.)
Other swaps include less cream and more skim milk, whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour and a combination of cheeses including some lower in fat.
It seemed like the perfect time to share this recipe because my healthy foodie friends in The Recipe Redux are mining treasures from their pantry, cupboards, freezer or fridge and sharing healthy recipes made with the prize! (Check out the links below!) The stash of whole wheat pasta shells with extra fiber in my cupboard definitely fit the bill.
This version is extra-special since Mother’s Day and the summer holidays are coming up…and because rock shrimp was on sale at the grocery store.
Gourmet Mac and Cheese with Rock Shrimp – indulgence you can feel good about!
In fact, this recipe is kind of a bogo when it comes to hidden treasures. The final dish is even more special topped with rock shrimp. I always have shrimp in the freezer. But, I don’t always have rock shrimp. In case you’re not familiar with this variety, it tastes a bit like lobster and looks like a little baby lobster too with it’s hard outer shell. In some circles Sometimes, I refer to this recipe as my fake-out lobster mac and cheese!
So, this particular recipe has been named Gourmet Mac and Cheese because of the three creamy cheeses and because of the tasty rock shrimp topping. There’s no need to mention that it’s a bit healthier than what you might find when dining out at a fancy restaurant. Your taste buds will never know!
- 1 pound of pasta, elbows or small shells (We used shells that were high in fiber)
- 1 pound of rock shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail off
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 Tablespoons flour (We used whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1½ cups skim milk
- 1½ cups half and half
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (4 ounces) (We used low-fat cheese)
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese (4 ounces)
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Bring a second pot of water to a boil, add the shrimp and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is pink. (Rock shrimp cooks more quickly than other types of shrimp.)
- Drain the pasta and shrimp and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Cook for about one minute to form a roux. (I use the same pot that I used to cook the pasta.)
- Add milks, salt, white pepper and dry mustard to pot and stir to combine.
- Raise heat to medium-high and continue whisking until mixture just begins to bubble and sauce has thickened.
- Add cheeses to the pot and stir until melted.
- Add pasta and shrimp to pot and stir to thoroughly coat with cheese.
- Remove from heat and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.
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