How to make mac and cheese healthier, tastier, and creamier? Add sweetpotatoes, of course!
Here, they’re mashed and mixed into the cheese sauce, plus shredded and added to the topping—for double sweetpotato-liciousness. Sweetpotato lovers will be happy to pack in the extra flavor and nutrition. But the difference is subtle enough to be picky eater-friendly, too.
Healthier, Tastier, Creamier Sweetpotato Mac and Cheese
Serves 6 to 8
1 1/2 pounds orange- or yellow-fleshed sweetpotatoes, or a combination, peeled
1 pound elbow macaroni pasta
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups milk
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the casserole dish
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or a 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole dish and set it aside.
Coarsely shred enough of one sweetpotato to yield 1/2 cup. Cut the remaining sweetpotatoes into 3/4-inch dice and steam or microwave until very tender. Mash the cooked sweetpotatoes and set aside.
In a large pot, cook the pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and, whisking constantly, cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking out any lumps. Stir in the mashed sweetpotato and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese, salt, mustard, and nutmeg. Add more salt to taste and set aside.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in the cheese sauce. Transfer the entire mixture to the prepared pan or dish.
In a medium bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, panko, oil, and shredded sweetpotatoes. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the mac and cheese and bake until the top is brown, about 20 minutes.