Pasta with Root Vegetables and their Greens in Mornay Sauce

February 10, 2013

Pasta with Root Vegetables and their Greens in Mornay Sauce

From Philippe, Tucson CSA

This is a beefed up Mac N Cheese, a hearty and comforting winter dish which will make you wish you had more root vegetables and greens. The cheese sauce takes away the bite of the root vegetables and greens that have any. You can use turnips, rutabaga, radishes (especially those large black Spanish radishes) or even cauliflower, broccoli or carrots. For the greens, I usually use the tops of the root vegetables.

1-lb pack pasta (macaroni, elbow noodles, or penne)
1 lb root vegetables (preferably large ones, like black Spanish radishes or turnips), cubed, thick-julienned (fries-size), or slice in coins (if small).
1 or 2 bunches greens (blanched for 3 minutes, drained, and roughly sliced in ribbons)
5 tablespoons butter (or oil)
3 cups grated cheese (typically a mix of Parmesan and Swiss but Cheddar works also)
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups milk
1/4 cup fresh dill (minced) – Optional
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons mustard
salt
pepper

Boil pasta according to pack instructions.

Sauté the radishes in 1 tablespoon butter for 10 minutes, until radishes are soft but still firm (al dente).  Add salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Mornay sauce: in a saucepan, on medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add flour. Stir until flour and butter are well mixed. Add milk a little bit at a time, stirring continuously and vigorously with a whisk to prevent clumping or sticking to the bottom, and bringing mixture to a light boil at regular interval. After all the milk has been added, add grated cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, mustard and dill. Stir until cheese has melted. Add some extra milk if necessary: the sauce should be thick but still fairly runny.

In a large serving dish, gently and uniformly mix together pasta, greens, radishes. Pour Mornay sauce on top. Shake the dish a few times to make the sauce settle into the pasta.

Optional: pour into a 9 x 18 baking dish, sprinkle with some extra grated cheese on top and put under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.

Serves 8 (makes great leftovers too)

TIP:

– to save time and effort, I usually blanch the sliced greens in the pasta water 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking.  I stir the pasta well to prevent the greens from clumping.

– to save even more time and effort, you can skip the whole Mornay sauce operation and instead sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese before serving

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