Carrot Macaroni & Cheese

SUBMITTED BY CHEF COLLEEN SUHANOSKY OF RIFRULLO CAFE, BROOKLINE
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA / STYLED BY CATRINE KELTY

With this recipe, I wanted to create a "Kraft macaroni-and-cheese”-looking dish that kids would like but would also be nutritious. I mostly use St. Valerey carrots from Eva’s Garden in South Dartmouth, MA, sweet and freshly-dug, but any carrot variety will do. For grown-up palates, try stirring in some caramelized onion, or ripe Comice pear and locally-grown Allandale Farm ginger root, or even fresh peas.

Ingredients:
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 cups peeled, sliced carrots
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whole milk yogurt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teapsoons local honey
3½ cups grated sharp cheddar
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 slices brioche, toasted and cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add ⅓ cup salt. Add sliced carrots and cook until tender, maybe 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to the pitcher of a blender.

Add pasta to the same boiling water and cook until al dente, about 6–7 minutes. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water, and transfer the pasta to a mixing bowl. Add milk, yogurt, mustard, and honey to the carrots in the blender and blend to a smooth purée. Add some of the reserved water if the purée seems too thick. Pour into a mixing bowl with the pasta and grated cheddar; stir to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed, and add some freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Pour the pasta mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Toss brioche cubes with the melted butter and scatter over pasta. Season lightly with more salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly.