1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; place in a large bowl.
Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Add the cheese mixture to pasta, and stir well. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, panko, and parsley in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes.
Preheat broiler (do not remove dish from the oven).
Broil pasta 1 minute or until top browns.
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With a little tweaking,this recipe was great! I reduced the amount of pasta a bit, added some chunks of smoked ham ( to make it more of a dinner entree) and a little fat free 1/2 & 1/2 to make it creamy. The cooking time was way off though. I baked as indicated for 10 minutes, but was still just luke warm. I then increased the time incrementally by 10 minutes for a total of 35 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, I covered the casserole w/ foil. I also baked this in a 9x9 glass dish. Keeping the casserole thicker and w/ the foil covering, kept it moister. I serve this w/ canned chopped tomatoes to put on top. This recipe now will replace the standard, high calorie, high fat mac & cheese my family made. My son really loved it too!
I think this is pretty good - would have given it a 3.5 if possible. It's not ever going to taste like full fat mac and cheese, but it's a decent substitute that can actually be hard to stop eating. The sauce has a tangy flavor, which my husband and I liked, and we kind of wanted to keep eating but stopped at one portion each. (OK, plus a few extra noodles for me when I put it away.) I found it very easy to make and I've made it twice; agree it can be dry/bland and have some tips on preparation:
1) Leave the cottage cheese in the food processor a long time, let it get really smooth and liquid-like.
2) Use a really good cheddar. I could tell the difference when I used a better one.
3) Use Pecorino Romano instead of Parmesan; it has more salt and flavor.
4) When you drain the pasta, save some of the water and add it to the cheese/pasta mixture while combining. This will help it stay more sauced and creamy in the oven.
5) Use the 11 x 17 dish. The depth is important for moisture.
Yummy. The cottage cheese blend (I used ricotta since I had some on hand) was delicious, though we did find the dish to be a bit dry even after adding in some pasta water. I probably would add some milk to the cheese mixture if we made it again.
This recipe wasn't bad with some additions, but since I don't really like pasta I probably wouldn't make it again. I added 2 cloves of garlic, garlic salt, extra pepper, asparagus in with the pasta and tomatos on top and I found it very flavorful. I had never eaten cottage cheese and it wasn't as gross as I thought it would be. I didn't find it dry or flavorless at all but that could be because of everything I added to it.
This was pretty good! It was super easy and fast to make, so I'll definitely make it again on a week night. It was a bit dry, even with some pasta water added, but it wasn't so dry that I didn't like it. I added some garlic powder and extra pepper to give it a bit more flavor. I also used ricotta cheese instead of cottage.