White Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Purists call this dish white ragu pappardelle pasta; others call it white bolognese (which makes the purists mad).  The point isn’t the name (it tastes just as good no matter what you call it). And, much as I love tomato sauces, the white sauce is a tasty change from the usual red one.

It starts with onions and carrots, then adds ground beef and sausage, which is simmered gently with porcini mushrooms, white wine, and a touch of cream.  Soooo good.

I first made this right after Pesach, when the urge to eat starch (and lots of it) is strong, so I splurged for fresh pappardelle pasta.  Being on an involuntary low-carb diet is no fun!  Since I was using fresh pasta, it takes less time to cook than the dried version.  If you use dried pasta, allow 10 minutes or so to boil the water and another 8 minutes or so to cook the pasta.  Fresh pasta only needs a couple of minutes. If you can’t get pappardelle, rigatoni will work fine. You want a substantial pasta with bite (angel hair won’t do here).

The original recipe calls for dried porcini mushrooms, which I didn’t have. So, I substituted fresh ones.  If you use the dried version, add the soaking liquid to the sauce instead of the water. The pasta water at the end thickens the sauce (with the starch from the cooked pasta).

I made a few other changes too. As a commenter rightly pointed out, the onions and carrots take different amounts of time to cook, so they shouldn’t be added all at once.  First the onions, then the carrots. Also, I never have beef bouillon cubes (the ingredients make me wince) so I used beef stock instead.




White Ragu Papardelle Pasta Substitutions and Variations

  • Substitute bacon or pancetta for the sausage
  • Swap ground veal and pork for the beef and sausage
  • If you like venison or boar, those would work too
  • Add a few cloves of garlic and top with basil when you serve it
  • Don’t want sausage or beef? Use ground turkey instead (add a bit more fat to the pan)

Crowd Cow Ground Beef

Feel better knowing where your food is coming from.   You can pick the way it’s raised, and who raises it.  Crowd cow sources their meat from individual farmers and ranchers, not corporate giants.  It’s either grass-fed or mostly grass-fed and then grain-finished, with minimal antibiotics and no extra hormones pumped into the animals.

More Pasta Recipes

tomato artichoke pasta sauce
Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

A rich, thick tomato sauce brightened with spicy crushed red pepper and savory oregano. The artichokes are straight from a jar (so it’s pantry-friendly).

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Sometimes, the simplest things are best. This only requires a few basic ingredients you likely have in your cupboard or fridge. Go up the fancy scale with fresh pasta, or use what’s in your pantry. It’s all good.

spaghetti spinach lemon cream sauceSpaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

Earthy spinach, a splash of citrus, and some cream and you have a delicious, light main dish. And the hardest part is boiling the water for the pasta.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta

A bit of a twist on the usual pesto. No pine nuts, or walnuts. This one is made with pistachios instead. And while I got it from a book, it wasn’t a cookbook. It was a mystery.

 




Egg and Pasta Gratin with Chives

Quick, what’s gooey, melty, cheesy, and great comfort food?  This egg and pasta gratin has crispy eggs, tender noodles, and lots of cheese. It’s almost a cousin to pasta carbonara (but no bacon).  The flavor is simple and delicate and the recipe incorporates two of my favorite “food groups”: pasta and cheese!

It’s adapted from a a new cookbook I just got (because given a bookstore gift card as a gift, I naturally headed straight for the cookbook section!). The cookbook is called Fast Food My Way and it’s chock full of inspiration. As you may have guessed from the title, all the meals are relatively easy and quick. They’re just perfect for those days when you don’t feel like fussing (or simply don’t have the time).  Of course, you can also make this for a leisurely weekend brunch or scale the recipe up and serve it to guests.

The whole thing fits in perfectly with my own philosophy, which is delicious food for one person, made from real ingredients. Because, just because you’re cooking for one rather than two or more doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a home-cooked meal.And, of course, making it yourself is much cheaper than going out, or ordering a meal kit.

As written, the flavor is pure comfort food; not spicy or salty. However, if you want, you can add other flavors (more on that in the substitutions and variations section).




Egg and Pasta Gratin Substitutions and Variations

  • Add crumbled bacon on top
  • Go for more sweetness and crunch with a sweet bell pepper
  • Try some leeks instead of the chives
  • Dice some sun-dried tomatoes

More Pasta Recipes

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Wake up your taste buds and welcome spring with this light, zesty spaghetti dish. It takes only thirty minutes to make.

 

savory mac and cheeseSavory Mac and Cheese Recipe with Three Cheeses

This mac and cheese has some ingredients you might not expect. Like garlic and bay leaf. But don’t worry, the flavor becomes savory, mellow, and brings out the cheesy taste of the sauce.

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

Fragrant with thyme, onions, and garlic, and then topped with Swiss cheese. Great for a light meal, especially when there’s a big holiday meal in-between.

 

quick and easy summer pastaQuick and Easy Summer Pasta

Bright, colorful and great either hot or cold.  Perfect as a summer salad (since there’s no mayo to worry about).  And very little cooking too (just the pasta).

 




Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Shortcut your dinner cooking routine with staples you already have in your pantry. This tomato artichoke pasta sauce recipe (also called Pasta Sauce Raphael) is ready in less than half an hour.  The original called for fresh tomatoes and hours of simmering. My version is faster and tastes just as good!

It’s flavored with rich, sweet tomatoes, a bit of earthy oregano and summery basil, plus a gentle kick from red pepper flakes and plenty of black pepper.

The only thing you need to get is the jar of marinated artichoke hearts. You likely already have the rest of the ingredients in  your larder (yay!).  Since the basil and oregano are dried, you don’t have to go and get fresh herbs.

The best way to approach this is to begin by making the pasta. Set the pasta pot on the stove with water and start to bring it to a boil. While that’s heating up, start working on the sauce.

Save the rest of the artichokes to make the recipe again, or add them to an antipasto platter with salami, fruit, olives, and cheese on a night you don’t feel like cooking.

The remaining tomatoes can go for Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant or Small Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili




Tomato Artichoke Pasta Sauce Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Add a spoonful of capers to the sauce
  • Intensify the tomato flavor with sun-dried tomatoes
  • Try Manchego or Parmesan cheese instead of Romano
  • If you don’t have the marinated artichokes, use the canned kind with some olive oil and white wine
  • If you don’t like artichokes (or have them handy) replace them with mushrooms and a tablespoon of Italian dressing

More Pasta Recipes

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

This pasta dish has a racy name, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.  Briny capers, sweet tomatoes, and salty olives burst with flavor. And it’s ready in minutes.

 

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Wake up your taste buds and welcome spring with this zesty, earthy pasta dish. It takes only thirty minutes to make.

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Simple, but still satisfying, and made with just a few basic ingredients you probably already have. It’s very forgiving too; it works with anything from fresh pasta and freshly grated cheese to dried pasta and the stuff in the can.

 

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A silky smooth sauce, with just a touch of cream, layered over pasta. Fancy enough for company, or just eat it yourself (you deserve it).

 




Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a long-ago birthday dinner at a tiny neighborhood Italian restaurant. The restaurant is now (sadly) closed, but their smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauce lives on!

The pasta is bathed in a velvety, slightly pink, tomato sauce with a touch of cream.  It’s delicious and elegant too.  Make a double batch and serve it for company (they’ll think you’ll worked on it all day).

This only requires a little bit of smoked salmon (about a slice or two), so you won’t bust your budget cooking it.  Even better, check to see if your market or deli sells smoked salmon ends. They’re much cheaper, and taste just as good as the fancy slices.  Besides, a beautiful slice hardly matters when you are going to cut it up into small pieces!

If you don’t have any smoked salmon handy, you can use leftover cooked salmon instead. Add it right at the end.  The idea is just to heat it up. You don’t want to overcook it.

To save some time (and get dinner done faster), put the water for the pasta in the pot first, and start bringing it to a boil. While the water is heating up,  chop the onion.  Then get the second pan going with the butter and oil.   Once the water is boiling, add the pasta to the pot.  Finish the sauce in the second pan while the pasta cooks. That way, you have dinner in about 20-25 minutes and nothing sits around getting cold.




 

Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce Substitutions and Variations

  • Trade the smoked salmon for leftover cooked salmon.
  • Add a shot of vodka for penne a la vodka with salmon.
  • Try sun-dried tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes.

More Pasta Recipes

pasta alla norma with eggplantPasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Sightly spicy pasta with fresh eggplant, and tomato sauce, topped with manchego cheese. Fantastic when you’re hungry and want food fast.  The cooking time is reduced by using tomato sauce.

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSummer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

A lovely citrusy tangle of tender pasta, briny olives, and salty feta, mixed in with crunchy fried panko. I shared the photo with some friends, and one said, “”Oh I want that! I want it now! But I’m at work! Sob.”

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Easy, quick, and works with either up- or down-scaled ingredients. Use fresh pasta or dried, fresh cheese or pre-shredded. It’s a forgiving recipe that tastes good any way you prepare it.

spaghetti spinach lemon cream sauceSpaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

Cook up some pasta, add some fresh basil, a handful of spinach, and cream (or diluted Greek yogurt) and dinner is done!

 




Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

This recipe makes me smile whenever I make it.  You may wonder what’s so funny about linguine with garlic and olive oil?  Nothing really, it just reminds me of a friend.

This friend does not cook. At all.  I don’t think she’s ever used her oven.  I was at her house one day and I was hungry. Nobody else wanted anything, so I started poking around in her fridge and cupboards (with permission).

I found some dried pasta, bouillon cubes, some olive oil, and a can of parmesan cheese. So, I made the “shelf stable” version of this recipe.  They all looked at me as if I had walked on water or parted the seas!

It is, of course, much better if you have higher quality ingredients at hand.  Here at home, I used fresh linguine, homemade chicken broth, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, along with high quality olive oil.

You can do it that way, the shelf stable way, or somewhere in-between.  I won’t judge.

 


Substitutions and Variations for Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

  • Make it more substantial with some cooked chicken or cooked shrimp
  • Top it with some red pepper flakes
  • Add a bit of lemon zest
  • Use some anchovies (if you like them)
  • Top with freshly toasted breadcrumbs

 

More Pasta Recipes

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Want food fast? Just cook some pasta and put together a quick sauce from sweet tomatoes, zesty garlic, and salty olives.

 

white ragu papardelleWhite Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Earthy porcini mushrooms, sausage, beef, white wine, and a bit of cream, all simmered gently and served with hearty fresh pasta.  Sooo good, you may never want the usual red sauce again.

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

A burst of bright flavor from nutty olives, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and golden friend panko.  A wonderful, and easy summer treat.

 

tomato artichoke pasta saucePasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Rich, thick, and pantry friendly too with canned tomatoes, dried herbs, and a jar of artichokes.  Start the sauce simmering, make the pasta and you’re ready to eat in half an hour.

 




Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers Puttanesca

In a hurry for dinner?  Pasta is your friend.  This pasta dish with olives, tomatoes, and capers (or pasta puttanesca) has a slightly racy name.  Nobody really knows why.  One theory says the dish was popular with the ladies of the evening because it was easy to cook and the ingredients were cheap.  Another says that the sauce’s aroma helped lure in customers.

Whatever the reason, it certainly is budget friendly and you can make it in about 20 minutes.

Whoever is responsible created a dish that’s packed with flavor.  There’s pungent little bits of garlic, slightly briny capers, and nutty Niçoise olives. 

Capers, in case you don’t know, are the buds of a Mediterranean plant that are picked and then pickled (try to say that three times fast).  I always thought Niçoise  olives were a variety, but I found out today that they’re really called Le Calletier.  Niçoise is just the method of curing them.

I adapted this recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. They suggested using whole canned tomatoes, and then squeezing them out and chopping them up.  That’s too messy for me. You can use crushed tomatoes, purée, or even tomato sauce in a pinch.

Traditionally, this recipe also includes anchovies.  However, I am a fish wimp. The strongest fish flavor I like is salmon.  Also, anchovies were $32 a pound.  Nope. Not happening. Nuh uh.

The other great thing about pasta puttanesca is that you can use canned tomatoes, jarred capers, dry pasta, and spices you probably already have sitting on your shelf.

Save the rest of the tomatoes for pasta alla norma.

The remaining capers will keep indefinitely in the fridge once opened.  They’re great with smoked salmon, lemon, and dill for a weekend brunch.




 

More Pasta Recipes

pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausagePasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Sweet Ialian-style chicken sausage, crisp bell peppers, and meaty mushrooms, all swirled together. It’s a fast and easy dinner.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta Recipe

A recipe inspired by a murder mystery (of all things). This is a twist on the usual pesto.  Because what would a mystery be without a twist?  No pine nuts and there’s broccoli instead of basil. The basil is just a garnish.

penne with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and olivesPenne with Feta Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Olives

Sweet tomatoes balanced by salty feta and tender pasta, combine for a delightful summer meal.  Drying the tomatoes intensifies their flavor.

 

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A velvety smooth sauce, with just a hint of cream.  The smoky, salty salmon complements the sweet tomatoes.  Check your grocer for salmon ends.

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce with Penne

Sweet butternut squash, savory/sweet roasted garlic, and creamy parmesan added just at the end. Feels far more indulgent than it actually is.

 




Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

This recipe for spaghetti with spinach and lemon cream sauce was a bit of an accident. I innocently ordered a bunch of spinach (along with other groceries) from Fresh Direct.  I expected, well a standard bunch of spinach. What I got was a “spinach tree.” It’s enormous. It’s so large I had to prop it up against a bottle of seltzer and a plant to take a photo of it.

spinachSo, if anyone from Google noticed a spike in searches for  ‘spinach recipes’ over the last few days, it was me.

I adapted this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen. She used basil (or arugula), and while I have basil growing in my window, I don’t have arugula.

Besides, there’s that enormous bunch of spinach to use up!

So, I combined the two.  A bit of basil, and a handful of spinach, some diluted Greek yogurt instead of the heavy cream (didn’t have the cream and couldn’t leave to get some), and dinner is served!




Substitutions and Variations for Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

  • If you don’t have heavy cream, melt 1/3 C unsalted butter and add 3/4 C whole milk. This makes about a cup.
  • Use plain Greek yogurt and thin it out with a little milk. If you do this, add a little hot water to the mixture first, before putting it in the pasta. This will prevent it from curdling.
  • Use frozen peas instead of spinach (add to the pasta while it’s cooking and save yourself an extra pot to clean; put the peas in for about 3 minutes).
  • Add some leftover cooked chicken for more protein.


Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

I love the Smitten Kitchen blog (as does a friend who is a professional chef). Deb’s recipes are consistently good. And, her original kitchen was nearly as small as mine. Which just proves you don’t need a lot of space, drawerfuls of gadgets, or an enormous pantry to create delicious food.

Everything is made from real ingredients, and ingredients that are easy to find. I know it really bugs me when some recipe calls for a teaspoon of some exotic ingredient I’ll never use again! One thing about this book is that the format spreads the recipes over more than one page, so it can be a bit hard to follow.


Spaghetti Spoon

It’s a small thing, but this spoon makes it much easier to toss your spaghetti and coat it with the sauce. It’s also a lot easier to get it out of the pot and into a bowl for serving. And because it’s OXO, it’s comfortable to hold too.

Microplane Zester

This is one of my favorite tools. It’s just the thing for zesting lemons (and getting only the zest without the bitter pith). Hard cheese can be tough to grate with a box grater, but this produces perfect little curls that practically melt into your pasta. It’s also ideal for grating nutmeg, ginger, or even garlic. Since it’s long and thin, you can just perch it right on top of the bowl while you grate. Note that it’s sharp, so be careful!

More Spinach Recipes for One Person

strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing feta cheeseStrawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

Crisp, crunchy, sweet, and salty, this salad is a festival of flavor, color, and texture. Just the thing when it’s hot and actual “cooking” is a big nope.

spinach and feta cheese omeletteSpinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Spanaokopita (spinach and feta pie) flavors without a lot of fussing with phyllo dough. And it comes together quickly.

 

sauteed garlic parmesan spinachSauteed Garlic Parmesan Spinach

An easy side dish with mellowed garlic,  sharp parmesan, and earthy spinach. Takes only a few minutes to make too.

 

spinach lamb meatballsSpinach Lamb Meatballs

Get your veggies and your main dish at the same time. The tangy red wine vinegar complements the robust flavor of the lamb beautifully.

 




Penne with Feta Cheese Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

This penne with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives recipe is fairly hands-off, simple, and delicious. And, of course, it’s just one serving!

It also allowed me to make some progress using the enormous jar of sun-dried tomatoes that’s been in the back of my fridge forever! Add some pasta, a bit of feta cheese, olives, and a few leaves of fresh basil, and you get a tasty lunch with only a few minutes of real work. (I have a basil plant growing in my window, so that basil was really fresh).

The feta was leftover from making a feta and spinach omelette, so it also helps toward my goal of not wasting anything. I just hate having a couple of tablespoons of sauce, or a few random bits of fruit or vegetables turning into a science experiment.

Now, on to more tasty mental pictures.

Since the tomatoes are dried, you’ll have to start by heating them and softening them up a bit.  You can do this overnight (if you’re organized), or just start them a few minutes before you start boiling the water for the pasta.

Once the tomatoes are soaked and the pasta is cooked, the rest of the recipe takes only a few minutes to prepare.  Just cook the garlic, toss the remaining ingredients in the saucepan you used to cook the penne and heat them up with the pasta.

Since the entire meal only uses one pot, it’s also easy to clean up afterwards. I don’t have a dishwasher, so easy cleanup is good!




 

Substitutions and Variations for Penne with Feta Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Olives

  • add a handful of fresh spinach (maybe half a cup of torn leaves) at the end, after you drain the pasta; cooking it just a minute or two until it wilts
  • put in some leftover cooked chicken, this makes it more substantial and suitable for dinner
  • add some cooked mushrooms (if you have dried mushrooms, throw them in the hot water when you’re rehydrating the sun-dried tomatoes)

Ingredients and Tools for This Recipe

Roland Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The nice thing about sun-dried tomatoes is that they do last a long time (if you happen to have bought a giant jar because the price was great).  In addition to pasta, you can toss them on pizza, mix them in with eggs, add them to pesto, or put them in meatloaf.

 

Divina Castelvetrano Olives 10.2 oz jar
Divina Castelvetrano Olives 10.2 oz jar

My mom only eats black olives and my dad only likes green ones. I never really liked olives of any kind that much until I tried these. They were set out as a bar snack (of all things). They are bright green, mild, and don’t taste sour or briny like most olives do. They’re great with this pasta dish, and also marinated in olive oil with slivers of garlic and rosemary (which is how the bar served them). Delicious and great for a wine and cheese cocktail hour (either just for you or for company).

More Single Serving Feta Cheese Recipes

strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing feta cheeseStrawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

Perfect for long, hot summer days, this recipe requires no actual cooking. Crisp, refreshing, salty, and sweet, all at once.

feta brined roast chickenFeta Brined Roast Chicken Recipe for One

Easy enough for a weekend, fancy enough for company. The feta brine helps keep the chicken moist and adds flavor too.

 

summer pasta olives and fetaSummer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

Sweet, juicy tomatoes, plus salty olives and feta, equals an easy summer meal. The feta cheese and olives are slightly salty, while the tomatoes add sweetness. Works either hot as dinner, or cool as a pasta salad.

 

spinach and feta cheese omeletteSpinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Spinach and feta pie flavors, with a lot less effort. Make this for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.

 

 

 




Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

I recently found myself craving spicy sesame noodles. Unfortunately, I had trouble finding a ready-made recipe that appealed to me. One recipe was too sweet, another was too bland.  Yet a third called for ingredients I didn’t have at hand, like tahini and sesame paste. While those would be good, I dislike buying an entire jar/package/bottle of something just for one recipe. It did give me the idea to include some ginger, which I liked. Besides, I wanted spicy sesame noodles right then and there, not several hours or days in the future!

So, I combined and improvised.  And, of course, cut down the recipes from eight or four people to just one serving.

I also didn’t have long  rice noodles, only linguine, so I used that.  If you use rice noodles, follow the directions on the package to cook them.  There are instructions in the recipe for both.  If you only have linguine (or even short pasta) use that and don’t worry about it.

So, instead of a ready-made recipe, I ended up with my own twist. But, I’m happy to say it turned out really well.

A bit of a warning about this recipe. As is, it’s really spicy, since that chili garlic sauce packs a punch, so if you prefer a milder version, leave it out.

It’s great for a hot summer day, as it requires only that you cook the noodles, and nothing else. Just chop, mix, arrange in a bowl, and eat.

 




Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person Substitutions and Variations

  • if you don’t have rice vinegar, use white vinegar
  • top with diced fresh bell pepper
  • add lightly cooked snow peas or broccoli
  • if you want a heartier meal, add in some cooked chicken
  • add 1 tsp tahini  to the sauce
  • garnish with sliced cucumber
  • use the peanut butter and cucumber to make a peanut butter and cucumber sandwich — yes, really)

More Spicy Noodle Recipes

spicy beef noodle soupSpicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Exactly one serving of hot, spicy soothing soup. And it only takes a few minutes to prepare too.  You don’t have to simmer it for hours.

 

szechuan chili noodlesSchezuan Chili Noodles

Think Dan Dan noodles, but faster and easier.  You only need a few ingredients, and you don’t have to order out either.

 

easy singapore noodles with chickenEasy Singapore Noodles with Chicken for One Person

Nobody knows how this got its name. It’s not really from Singapore. But, it is crunchy, slightly spicy, warm, and delicious. Also a good way to clean out the fridge.

 

 




Savory Mac and Cheese Recipe with Three Cheeses

There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of mac and cheese recipes out there: three cheese, four cheese, and on and on. This savory mac and cheese recipe is a bit different. First, it’s both savory and cheesy, second it’s sized for just one person. No leftovers.

I got the idea for this recipe from a friend who made it with sun dried tomatoes. I tried it that way, but wasn’t mad about the combination.  However, the idea to add bay leaf and garlic is inspired.  I know it sounds odd, but the garlic becomes mellow once you cook it, and the bay leaf complements the cheese.




I’ve used three cheeses: cheddar, mozzarella, and manchego. My friend used cheddar and parmesan. You can follow my version, or his, or make up your own. Provolone would work too.  I even recently had mac and cheese that had muenster in it, which worked surprisingly well.

One thing though, he used low fat milk, which I would never do.  You can, if you want to.

Savory Mac and Cheese Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • as suggested above, mix and match the cheese you use
  • add the sun dried tomatoes when you mix the cheese and pasta together (just because I didn’t care for it, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea)
  • cook some bacon and crumble that on top
  • include some caramelized onions
  • top with prosciutto

Tools and Ingredients for Making Savory Mac and Cheese

small square baking dishsmall square baking dish
Porcelain Square Quiche Dish 

I just got this little dish and I’m really pleased with it. It’s oven, dishwasher, and microwave safe, and it fits in the toaster oven so I don’t have to heat up my big oven to make something small. It’s called a quiche dish, but it was great for mac and cheese, and I intend to use it for single serving apple crisp and brownies. It’s even pretty enough to serve in. The other nice thing is you can buy just one, rather than a set.

small au gratin dishsmall au gratin dish
Porcelain Round Au Gratin Dish

This au gratin dish, from the same company, is also a good option. It has handles to make it easier to pick up and take out of the oven (which I wish I had thought of). It would also make a nice dish for serving scrambled eggs.

More Pasta Recipes

pasta alla norma with eggplantPasta Alla Norma with Eggplant

Take advantage of fresh summer eggplant and make this easy pasta dish with a slightly spicy tomato sauce.

 

white ragu papardelleWhite Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Not your usual ragu sauce, this one is made with cream (not a tomato in sight). Instead, you simmer onions, beef, carrots, and sausage, with porcini mushrooms and white wine. It’s divine!

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A smooth, velvety pink sauce, with just a hint of cream. The salmon adds a smoky flavor that plays beautifully with the rich sauce.

 

Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Also called pasta raphael, this pasta sauce is flavored with rich, sweet tomatoes, a bit of earthy oregano and summery basil. It’s got a bit of a kick from red pepper flakes and lots of freshly-ground black pepper. All straight out of your pantry (even the spices).