How to Make Macaroni and Mascarpone Cheese for Kids

Admit it, you know all about Tequila Tuesday and Whiskey Wednesday — so why not think up a day-of-the-week-inspired treat your toddler can enjoy as well? Kids like routines, even in their diet, so maybe Macaroni Mondays can be the new tradition. Try an easy macaroni and Mascarpone cheese recipe that will have your toddler eating happily and your husband asking for seconds — and it’s way better than the junk that comes out of a box.

Ingredients

You know you need macaroni pasta and Mascarpone cheese, but what else will make the magical Monday night macaroni? In addition to two cups of macaroni pasta and an 8-ounce package of Mascarpone cheese, you will need 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons oregano, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese,  1/2 cup sour cream, and 3/4 cup half and half cream. You will also need nonstick cooking spray for your baking dish.

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover a baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large pan of boiling water, cook the macaroni pasta according to the package directions or until the noodles are al dente. Put the olive oil into a saucepan and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until smooth. Strain the macaroni pasta and place into the oiled saucepan. Dump the cheese mixture onto the noodles and mix over medium heat until most of the cheese has melted. Place the macaroni into the baking dish and place in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

Benefits

This recipe will have you jumping for joy because you won’t have to make a roux or béchamel sauce. Don’t know what those words mean? Don’t worry about it — this recipe is a quick one with no fuss or frills, but your end result feels more gourmet than the ones that use powdered cheese packets and 2 percent milk. The recipe also doesn’t require the addition of salt unless you desire, so it’s a relatively healthy option for your toddler. The mixture of white cheeses is also a likely crowd pleaser, so you might only have to make one meal for everyone in the family.

Variations

Since you’re putting the macaroni in the oven anyway, why not take the opportunity to add a bread crumb topping? Combine bread crumbs with a small clove of garlic, minced, and some olive oil. Spread on top of the macaroni before baking in the oven. Think your toddler won’t eat the macaroni with the green bits of oregano? Leave it out and sprinkle a mix of sage, oregano and nutmeg on top of your plate. Try combinations of other cheeses, such as gruyere or romano. Don’t forget to try the cheese sauce with other types of pasta.

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