Italian pickled mixed vegetables, called giardiniera, can be quite tart, so it’s best to drain and rinse before using. You can make this mac and cheese without the gardiniera or with the addition of cooked vegetables, frozen, thawed green peas, or marinated artichoke hearts. You can also make this ahead and then cover and pop it in the oven to reheat.
Giardiniera Mac and Cheese
- 8 to 12 ounces fiore pasta or other bite-sized pasta shape
- 2 1/2 cups giardiniera vegetables, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup panko crumbs
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked and drained
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon mellow white miso
- 1 heaped tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 small clove minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until it is al dente. About 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking, stir in the giardiniera. Drain and leave in the strainer.
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to coat with the oil. Cook, stirring for a few minutes until the crumbs are toasted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a blender, combine all of the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the sauce into the pot in which the pasta was cooked and cook stirring, over medium-high heat, until the sauce is hot, bubbly, and thickened, about 4 minutes. Add the pasta and vegetables to the sauce, stirring gently to combine and heat through. Transfer to a casserole dish and sprinkle with the reserved panko. Serve hot.
Recipe from Cook the Pantry © 2015 by Robin Robertson. Photo by Annie Oliverio. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press LLC.