Macaroni with Yogurt Sauce (California, 1990s, adapted)


I’ve been cooking long enough that I can figure out what a recipe’s going to taste like just from reading the ingredient list.  There’s not a lot new under the sun, and the community cookbooks that I frequently cook from aren’t exactly known for their innovative cuisine.  There’s an awful lot of repetition, even within the same cookbook, and many, many recipes that are variations on a simple (boring) theme.  I’m more likely to cook a recipe if I can’t imagine the flavor from the ingredient list, which is how I found myself making Macaroni with Yogurt Sauce on a busy school night.

Macaroni with Yogurt Sauce come from a late 1990s community cookbook from the Little White Chapel in Burbank, California bearing the simple title Bless this Food.   A friend of a friend was a former member of this congregation, which is how the cookbook found its way into my possession, but I know precious little about them.  Well, except that the recipes are much more varied and inventive than their contemporaries.

The recipe itself kinda resembles Kraft Macaroni and Cheese:  cook up some macaroni noodles and mix them with butter and cheese.  Instead of salty orange cheese powder, though, you’ve got an airy yogurt-ricotta mixture with herbs and aromatics.   The cheese and yogurt provide a tangy, creamy backbone but otherwise fade into the background.  What you taste is the bite of barely cooked onion and the licorice punch of ground dill seed.

There’s not quite enough going on here for a satisfying main dish, but it’s got enough oomph to fill a garlic-mashed-potatoes-type-of role in a meal.  I served this to my family with a simple butter-fried chicken breast and a store bought Caesar salad.  The whole meal was on the table in thirty minutes.   Would I serve this to the queen if she came to visit?  Of course not.  Will I make this again on a busy weeknight because I think I’m too good for Kraft?   Absolutely.  Enjoy!

Macaroni with Yogurt Sauce (California, 1990s, adapted)

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 20 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • For: 8 side dish servings
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions to desired doneness
  2. While macaroni is cooking, mix remaining ingredients (except for butter) in an electric blender until smooth. It will be difficult going at first but once the onions give off their liquid it will blend easily.
  3. When the macaroni is finished cooking, drain well and return to the pot. Stir in the butter to coat, then add the cheese mixture. Stir well and serve immediately.

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