Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shrimp, Lemon, Herb and Feta Macaroni and Cheese

From: A Perfect Pantry

Yum! This was really good. I mostly went exactly off the original recipe, with the only changes being dried rather than fresh herbs because I didn't have the right ones on hand. This was a good main-course meal, but I could also see omitting the shrimp to make a totally meat-free entree or side dish (we're still eating seafood though we are not eating other forms of meat during Lent).

13.25 oz rotini (I used whole wheat)
1 lb frozen large shrimp, 31-40 size
2/3 lb feta, crumbled, divided
3/4 cup panko
Zest of 2 large lemons, divided
4 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided (I used a palmful of dried)
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
4 cups milk (whole or 2%)
1/2 lb gruyere or fontiago or Danish fontina, grated (I used fontina)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill weed (or dried to taste)
1/2 to 1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 to 1 tsp fresh black pepper

Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook for 8 minutes; the pasta should be a bit underdone. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Add the pasta to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Remove shrimp from the freezer, and set in a bowl of cold water.

In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of the feta, half of the lemon zest, all of the panko and 2 Tbsp parsley. Mix well and set aside.

Peel and devein the shrimp as soon as they are defrosted enough to handle (but not fully defrosted) and add to the pasta.

Make the sauce: In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the flour and stir until the flour is absorbed by the butter to form a paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the milk, and, with a wire whisk, stir vigorously to remove any lumps. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently with the whisk, for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove pot from heat, and whisk into the sauce the gruyere and the remaining feta. Whisk until the sauce is smooth; the gruyere will melt completely, and the feta will be well incorporated. Add the remaining lemon zest, the remaining parsley, dill weed, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce on top of the pasta, and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into a casserole dish (approximately 9x13 inches). Sprinkle the panko mixture on top. Place in the middle of the oven and bake at 400°F for 25 minutes, until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbling a bit along the edges. Remove from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes, and serve hot.

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