Photography by © Paulette Tavormina
- 3/4pound kale, stems cut from leaves (about 5 ½ cups)
- 8ounces elbow macaroni
- 1/2ounce (1/2 cup) dried porcini, rinsed
- 3tablespoons olive oil
- 4cloves garlic, rinsed
- 3/4pound cremini mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/4teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/4cup all-purpose flour
- 2cups milk
- 1 1/2teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
- 1teaspoon salt
- 2 ½cups (10 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2cup panko bread crumbs
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the kale for 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the kale to a colander (keep the pot of cooking water at a boil). Run the kale under cold water to stop the cooking and then drain and squeeze out any liquid. Coarsely chop.
- Add the macaroni to the boiling kale-cooking water and cook according to package directions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the dried porcini with 1 cup warm water. Let stand until the mushrooms have softened, about 20 minutes. With your fingers, lift the mushrooms from their soaking liquid, leaving the grit behind. Line a fine-mesh sieve with paper towels, a paper coffee filter, or cheesecloth. Pour the mushroom-soaking liquid through the sieve into a bowl. Reserve the liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a 5-quart Dutch oven or other large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the porcini and cremini mushrooms, thyme, and sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have wilted and released their juices, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mushroom-soaking liquid, milk, paprika, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Add the macaroni and kale and toss to coat.Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish or individual ramekins.In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the panko and
- Toss to coat. Scatter the butter crumbs over the mac and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is crunchy and golden brown.
• Swap in another green for the kale, such as escarole, or even cooked chopped broccoli.
• Use Gruyère instead of Cheddar. For an extra kick, add 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard to the white sauce. Instead of buttered bread crumbs, top the casserole with crushed potato chips.
• Instead of making a large mac and cheese, separate the mixture into two 9 x 9-inch pans and freeze one, unbaked and well wrapped, for a later date. You can bake the frozen mac and cheese straight from the freezer; it should take about 45 minutes.
Recipes and images reprinted with permission from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook © 2011 by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
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