This recipe has been circulating on the Web for a few years. It seems like a good weeknight solution for busy parents and for those who appreciate minimal kitchen prep. The KidsPost crowd could handle it easily, depending on which add-ins are used.
You'll need a 7-cup (or larger) rice cooker, and you'll use regular liquid and dry measuring cups for this recipe, not the measuring cup that comes with most rice cookers.
We tested this several times and found that a bit more broth and a bit more attention during the cooking will prevent scorching on the bottom. Even if it scorches, though, think of it as adding texture to the dish.
Serve with a salad.
Yield: Makes about 6 cups
- 8 ounces dried shaped pasta, such as cavatappi, fusilli or mini-farfalle
- 2 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 to 2 cups broccoli florets, carrot coins, cubed butternut squash or frozen peas
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups two- or three-cheese blend, such as cheddar, mozzarella and Monterey Jack
Combine the pasta, broth and salt in the rice cooker. Close the lid and cook for about 15 minutes (or until your rice cooker's regular cooking cycle completes), opening it quickly just to stir once or twice and make sure the pasta is not getting scorched on the bottom. The broth should be almost or completely absorbed.
Meanwhile, if you're adding vegetables, prep them as needed.
Once the pasta has cooked, open the lid to stir in the milk, cheese and any add-ins you like; reserve a little of the cheese to sprinkle on the surface. Close the lid and cook for about 10 minutes (or the length of a short cycle on your rice cooker). The cheese should be melted, and the milk should be well incorporated. Feel free to open the lid once or twice to make sure the mixture isn't scorching on the bottom.
Adapted from "Weelicious: One Family, One Meal," by Catherine McCord (William Morrow, 2012).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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