Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheesy Creamy Acini Di Pepe with Veg

You may be saying - what the heck is Acini di Pepi? Well, it's pasta. Tiny, tiny pasta. When cooked, it looks kind of like tapioca. You may have had it in one of it's more hideous preparations, Frogs Eye Salad - kind of like ambrosia with little pasta mixed in.


I like this incarnation much better. It's warm and comforting and just the right amount of chewy.

This recipe will feed two adults well, with enough leftover for a little one. This would serve several as a side dish.


2 T flour
2 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup Acini Di Pepe (you could also substitute orzo)
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup frozen veggies - I used mixed carrots, corn and peas
sea salt to taste

Cook Acini di Pepe according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour. Keep whisking flour and butter for a few minutes, until it is golden and the flour-y taste has cooked out. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, still whisking, and reduce heat. The sauce should start to thicken up at this point. Add the cheese, keep whisking until it melts. Add salt to taste.

In the last minute of cooking the pasta, add the vegetables. Drain and mix with the cheese sauce. Serve hot. Unless it's for a little kid. Then let it cool a bit. Duh!

And one more thing ... double the cheese sauce recipe and freeze the remainder in a small freezer bag. Then you won't have to make the cheese sauce, just the pasta, next time you make the this recipe. Or, eat it on broccoli. Yum!

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