Post-election survival kit: Mac ‘n’ cheese, the ultimate comfort food

The stress we’ll be facing Tuesday night — and maybe Wednesday morning — calls for preparing the quintessential dish of comfort food, and this quick and easy mac ‘n’ cheese recipe will do the trick. It’s creamy, cheesy and just a little bit spicy.

We first published this in January, and it’s good enough for a redux. The recipe is changed a bit — it eliminates the ½ cup of peas and substitutes gluten-free pasta, flour and breadcrumbs, but you can use the regular ingredients. As soon as you sink your teeth into this variation of your treasured dish from childhood, everything will feel OK.

8 ounces penne noodles (2 cups)

1 medium sweet potato (about 12 ounces)

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons flour

1 small clove garlic, minced

1¼ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 pinches red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons toasted bread crumbs

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Coat a 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until just tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, prick sweet potato with a fork in several places. Microwave on high until tender all the way to the center, 7 to 10 minutes.

Whisk milk, flour and garlic in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently until steaming and hot but not boiling. Remove from heat.

As soon as the sweet potato is cool enough to handle, cut open and scoop the flesh into the steaming milk. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.

Add cheese, mustard, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir until the cheese melts. Add cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Combine bread crumbs and oil in frying pan and cook over medium heat until crispy; sprinkle on top the pasta. Broil mac ‘n cheese on the upper rack until the top is lightly browned and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Serves 4.

— Adapted from