Macaroni and Cheese with Mushrooms and Kale
- Yield 8 servings
Good old mac and cheese, but with a sophisticated edge. Smoked paprika, mushrooms (porcini and cremini) and kale add great flavor.
- 3/4 pound kale, stems cut from leaves (about 5 ½ cups)
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1/2 ounce (1/2 cup) dried porcini, rinsed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, rinsed
- 3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups (10 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup 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.