Pepping Up Your Mac ’n’ Cheese

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - July 04, 2007
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A lot of people know Ed Wary. The Kailua resident, father of three, UH Travel Industry Management School teacher, longtime Hawaii rep to the National Restaurant Association and noted restaurateur has been at the helm of Auntie Pasto’s here on Oahu for more than two decades and founded Dixie Grill 10 years ago. Ed also has Maui connections, which explains why he’s opening his latest Auntie Pasto’s there as the fulfillment of a dream.

Way back when, after serving in Vietnam, the UH grad worked on Maui. He was employed by the Eastman family at their hotels and worked at the Mauian, Coconut Willy’s in the Royal Lahaina Hotel, and the Napili Village. One of his earliest jobs was far from glamorous - he would pick up hotel guests at the Kahului Airport and drive them to West Maui!


Ed, wife Tina and daughter Maddy are spending the July 4 week on Maui, working on the opening of Auntie Pasto’s at the Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center. Friday night’s big party will be a benefit for the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.

This is a go-off-the-diet dish, but so good it’s worth it. Just do a bit more exercise, and have fresh fruit for dessert!

While several countries claim credit for the invention of pasta, including Italy, China, Japan and France, its exact origins remain vague. According to some sources, pasta was introduced into Italy by Marco Polo when he returned from China in the late 1200s, and there is evidence of Chinese consumption of buckwheat and soybean noodles long before Marco Polo traveled there. In Naples, pasta was made as early as the 15th century, but it was not until the beginning of the 19th century when the drying process was perfected that pasta became popular.

Here’s a new recipe that was developed by Ed Wary for the opening of Auntie Pasto’s Maui.

PEPPERONI MAC ‘N’ CHEESE, LASAGNA-STYLE

* lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
* 1 quart Béchamel Sauce, recipe follows
* 10 ounces mozzarella, grated (may substitute low fat)
* 1 pound pepperoni, thin sliced (to lower fat and cholesterol, use less to taste)
* 1 cup bread crumbs (optional)

For Béchamel Sauce:

* 4 ounces butter
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 quart 2 percent milk, room temperature
* 1 cup grated provolone cheese (may use lower-fat cheese)
* 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
* 1 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and add flour. Stirring constantly, cook together until well-mixed and rawness is cooked out of the flour, but do not brown. Add garlic. Increase heat to medium-high and whisk in milk a little at a time. Cook until thickened, stirring often. When sauce reaches a boil, remove from heat and add cheese and nutmeg. Mix well. Cover and set aside.


Layer your favorite lasagna pan with:1) noodles 2) sliced pepperoni 3) light sprinkle of mozzarella 4) 1/2 cup of Béchamel Sauce 5) repeat 1 to 4; 6) repeat 1 to 4; 7) top with remaining mozzarella and bread crumbs.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted well and bread crumbs have browned.

Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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