Mac 'n cheese is quite possibly the most perfect dish on the planet. The original version uses full-fat cheese, cream and white pasta, so the whole thing is pretty much fat and carbs. My version uses creamy sweet potato to thicken the sauce (plus adds nutrients and flavour), non-fat evaporated milk so that the sauce doesn't separate during baking, and brown-rice pasta.
Excerpted from Dish Do-Over by Jo Lusted (Harper Collins, 2014). Photo: Mike McColl
Preheat oven to 375°F. Steam sweet potato until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Mash until smooth. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and translucent, about four minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about one minute, until golden brown. Stir in mustard and sweet potato. Whisk in evaporated milk and stock until smooth. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about five minutes. Remove from heat and gradually stir in cheddar and 1/2 cup (125 mL) Parmesan until smooth. Season with nutmeg, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Whisk in yogurt until mixture is smooth.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions for al dente. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup (75 mL) pasta cooking water. Return pasta to pot and stir in sauce, adding as much reserved pasta cooking water as needed to loosen sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 9 × 13-inch baking pan misted with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine panko, parsley and remaining 1/4 cup (60 mL) Parmesan. Sprinkle mixture over pasta and mist with cooking spray. Bake for about 30 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and topping is golden brown and crispy.
Before: 836 calories, 53 g total fat
Dish Do-Over: 480 calories, 11 g total fat
Nutritional information: 4 g saturated fat, 73 g carbohydrates, 3 g fibre, 10 g sugars, 23 g protein, 704 mg sodium, 15 mg cholesterol