As much as I love mac and cheese, I believe my hubs is right there with me in that love. Case in point: we were stocking up on the usual suspects at Costco recently (hello, Kerrygold Dubliner cheese in a huge brick for under $5!!!) and since I was with the cart, he was off meandering the aisles. After being gone for several minutes, he comes racing back to our cart toting a brightly-colored package.
“Look at THIS!” he says in an awed voice, and holds up the package. “Macaroni and cheese flavored ravioli! We have to try this!” Not only mac & cheese flavored ravioli (which is pretty special in and of itself), but in a fun, kid-friendly fish shape. And all natural, too. Granted, we were probably the only adults in the entire store who were getting beyond excited about a kid-oriented food, but honestly, I was most curious and couldn’t wait to try it.
The recipe for E-Z Cheezy Sauce seemed easy enough, so I decided to try it along with the pasta. I did end up doctoring the recipe slightly as we were both consenting adults who enjoy a little spice in our lives, so I added a touch of chipotle chili powder to the sauce. More on that later. But first, I had to check out these fun fish shapes on more detail.
The fish came in two colors – regular pasta color and day-glo orange, which took my straight back to my boxed mac & cheese days. Ahhhh, nostalgia.
Cutting one open, I spied what actually looked like mac and cheese inside the pasta pillow. Great attention to detail, guys! Okay, time to start cooking.
Maybe it was just the anticipation (or perhaps the fact that I’d missed lunch), but it seemed to take FOREVER for the water to boil. Once it did, in went the mac & cheese fish-shaped ravioli! I set the timer for two minutes and lo and behold by the end of that two minutes they’d all floated to the top (kinda like real dead fish, eeeeeeew).
During the short cook time, I gathered my ingredients for the sauce. Once the pasta was done, it was drained and set aside.
Using the same large pot (why create more dishes to wash?!?), I melted the butter and then added the flour, whisking constantly for about two minutes. Next the milk was added and the mixture was cooked over low heat, whisking, until it thickened a bit (about three minutes). I added the chipotle chili powder and a dash of seasoned salt, then the cheddar cheese. Once everything was stirred together and the cheese was melted, in went the cooked pasta. One more stir, and we were in business.
The delicate cheesy, chipotle-infused scent wafting up from my bowl was wonderful. I give it 3.5 elbows up! I did try one of the raviolis without sauce, and honestly I thought the sauce made the dish. It was creamy with a subtle essence of chipotle – and you could easily leave it out if you are, like most households, going to be making this for kids.
The recipe card for the E-Z Cheezy Sauce is included on the package, but in case you want to make a more adult version, here’s my adaptation on Nuovo Pasta’s recipe.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ⅛ cup flour
- 1 cup fat-free milk
- 4 ounces shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- Dash seasoned salt
- In a large pot, melt butter and then add flour, whisking. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for two minutes.
- Slowly add milk, whisking. Cook, still whisking, over low heat until sauce begins to thicken (3 minutes).
- Add chipotle chili powder and seasoned salt, then add cheddar cheese.
- Stir until cheese is melted, then add cooked pasta and stir once more.
- Serve and scarf down immediately!
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