Macaroni and Cheese with Kale and Mushrooms:
•3/4 pound kale, stems cut from leaves (about 5 1/2 cups)
•8 ounces elbow macaroni
•1/2 ounce (1/2 cup) dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
•3 tablespoons olive oil •4 garlic cloves, minced
•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 1/2 cups (10 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
•2 tablespoons unsalted butter
•1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Method: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, 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. Serves 8
Instead of a 9 x 12 baking dish I used a few gratin dishes and divided the mac and cheese among them so some can be enjoyed right away and the rest can be stored for later in the weekend.
Moving forward I know that I will probably do two versions of this recipe, dividing the cheese sauce in half before adding the macaroni and kale, and adding cayenne and Dijon mustard to one portion as the authors suggest. The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook is available at Williams Sonoma, including the Montclair store on Valley Road, as well as Watchung Booksellers In Watchung Plaza