We have been trying to clear out the fridge and pantry of items in an effort to not be wasteful and use up stuff we've bought and stored. I am surprised at the creativity I can muster up when pressured with avoiding a trip to the grocery. Last night I knew I'd be roasting veggies left over from the veggie tray on Sunday (cauliflower, baby carrots and orange peppers tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper) but I wanted something to go with, something hearty for my family.
I had some Cavatappi pasta, bacon (leftover from the best Corn Chowder recipe ever), partial wedges of parmesan and sharp cheddar, whipping cream and some frozen baby lima beans.
I fried the chopped bacon pieces and placed them on top of the defrosted baby limas while the pasta was cooking. Using some of the bacon grease in the pan I added a couple of tablespoons of flour to form a roux, then added the cream plus a little milk slowly to create a sort of bechamel sauce as the base for the cheese sauce. I grated the parmesan and added it all to the bechamel with some nutmeg and stirred. I drained the pasta and placed it with the lima beans and bacon into a lightly buttered casserole dish and mixed it well. Then I put the grated cheddar on top of the pasta and poured the cheesy sauce all over the pasta. I added some bread crumbs to the top (panko crumbs are the best!) and I put it in the oven to warm with the roasted veggies.
This dish was a big hit with the family! I was surprised because I hated lima beans when I was a kid - of course those were served plain. The last time I cooked with lima beans was a success too - Roasted Cod with Lima Beans but this was my different take on mac 'n cheese with tuna and peas. Everyone got seconds of this dish!