Dude. Duuuuude. We could die with our faces buried in this pan. If you can't imagine a similar fate... well... what's wrong with you?
I don't know how I conceived this idea. I wanted to put a twist on plain old boring mac n' cheese. I wanted to make it even more indulgent, and even more unhealthy. Who even knew that was possible? Well, I did technically add a vegetable. So it's totally healthy. We have all the food groups. Nutrition. Yes.
As fancy as this looks and sounds, it is super simple and you're going to have so much fun making. God knows we did. It's a miracle more than half the cheese actually made it in this dish. But don't be like me. Control yourself. Control your cheese cravings. I know, I know. It's hard.
Sweet Potato Macaroni & Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 Tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp clove
1 stick butter
4 Tbs flour
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup yellow cheddar
1/2 cup gouda
1/2 cup gruyere
1/4 cup parmesan
S&P to taste
I think you know what comes first, ladies & gents: boiling the water! You should know how predictable we are by now. And by predictable I mean not predictable at all, sillies. Keepin ya on your toes, we are. Uh... ok... back to the recipe...
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, naturally.
While you wait for your water to boil and your oven to heat, place your diced sweet potatoes on a large sheet pan in a single layer. Lightly drizzle in the olive oil and sprinkle on the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove. Using your hands, toss the potatoes so each particle is covered in the delicious spices. Place in your oven and leave uncovered to roast for 20-25 minutes.
Is water boiling? Add your macaroni. You know what to do here. Stir occassionally so nothing sticks. Turn the heat off when the pasta is al dente. That means it should still be just a bit firm and have a little bite to it. This is because we don't want the pasta to get all mushy when we bake it. But that's for later!
Let's start on our roux! We had so many rouxs this holiday season. We love creamy foods. Don't you? For this you want a pretty large pan with forgiving sides, because we're going to put a lot of things in it. Start melting the butter over a medium heat. Once it's melted, whisk in the flour until there are no chunks. Whisk in all the cream. Add some salt and freshly cracked pepper. It should start to thicken and boil in just a moment. Once that happens, lower your heat to a simmer. Now add all of the cheese to the pan that you haven't already eaten. We see you.
Carefully stir in all the cheeses. This will really thicken the sauce, and if it becomes too thick, add a ladle full of pasta water and gently whisk until it becomes manageable again. Just don't add too much. If it gets too thin... well... there's no going back.
Transfer your al dente macaroni to a large baking dish. In the same dish, put your roasted sweet potatoes. Be sure that no excess oil gets in there. It would probably be best to drain excess oil from the potatoes on a paper towel before adding to the macaroni. Now cover the macaroni and potatoes in the cheese sauce you just prepared. Stir together until everything is combined. Yum!
Put the baking dish in the oven, covered, for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, put some freshly grated parmesan on top, because this dish obviously needs more cheese. Bake for another 7 minutes.
After you've waited so patiently for your cheesy indulgence, it's time to dig in! No point in waiting for the hot cheese to cool down so it won't burn your face off. It's just so good, you guys.
Garnish with a fresh sprig of parsley and you have dinner for days.