Did you have Mac n Cheese growing up? I didn’t. Not once. So, in college, when everyone would go crazy for those boxes of it, I never got the appeal. Macaroni. And cheese. Big deal. Plus, honestly, the commercials just made it look gross. Is that yellow cheese supposed to be appealing? Blegh. Then years ago, as an adult I decided to make a fancy version, with fancy cheeses as my introduction to this meal. Holy smokes. Mac. and Cheese. I finally got it. I think I sat there with a spoon and just ate it out of the casserole dish. (I mean, I don’t remember, but I usually do that when I like something. And um, guys, this one is so good that after a few minutes I realized I was just eating it with my hands. (Also, I’m clearly a cavewoman with no table manners.)
So, I’m pretty glad that even excluding dairy, there are still tons of great “mac n cheeze” recipes out there. But, well, I march to the beat of my own drummer, so my first mac recipe was not going to be like everyone else’s. Joe loves mac n cheese, so when I asked him if he was interested in me making a Thai version, I was honestly expecting him to think I was crazy. I mean, it is a little out there. But he got so excited about the idea, I got right to work!!
As always, Joe is also my taste tester, and as soon as he put the first bite of this in his mouth, he said (still chewing), “That’s good!!” Its good that he liked it so much because it’s not only easy – its fast to make, and most importantly, I almost always have everything I need to make this on hand in the apartment. And sometimes when he comes home late from work he’s hungry, and sometimes he’s not. I really like that this is a dish I can have out in 30 minutes, but it tastes like I’ve been working on it all day.
We are back up in Vermont again, and I brought the leftovers up with me. Even though we got up here at 1am, Joe was asking for some as a snack. (I don’t have a lot of eating rules, but I’m less I’m drunk I’m not having pasta at 1 am, 30 minutes before bed time.) I know that after a day of skiing tomorrow I’m going to be super excited to have this for dinner, partly because its already made and partly because thai food + mac n cheese. It’s a marriage of 2 of my favorite comfort foods. And I can’t wait till tomorrow when I tell you about what I made for dessert!
- 2 cans Coconut Milk
- 6 teaspoons Red Curry Paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Cashews, soaked
- 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- 12 large Basil Leaves
- 1 box Macaroni
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In a sauce pan, heat on medium 1.5 cans of Coconut Milk, 2 teaspoons red curry, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 4 Basil leaves. Cook for several minutes, stirring often, until coconut milk thickens
- Heat a large pot of water on high until water is boiling. Once water boils, add macaroni and cook until al dente (slightly uncooked). Strain pasta and add it to sauce pan of thickened coconut milk, and toss to coat. Lower heat to a simmer.
- In a blender or small food processor, mix cashews, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 4 teaspoons red curry paste, nutritional yeast, and 8 basil leaves. Blend until thick and smooth.( Add more red curry paste depending on spice preference.)
- Transfer macaroni and coconut milk to a casserole dish. Pour red curry cashew cream on top and stir, coating evenly.
- Cook in the oven for 10 minutes. Garnish with additional basil if desired.