When stress hits, we want comfort food. Try this delicious, nutritious and lowered fat dish with a Hispanic twist. For higher nutrition you can use whole-wheat macaroni, but I don't care for it - rather get my fiber elsewhere. If anyone has a tastier brand of whole grain macaroni, please let me know.
16 oz. package of small elbow macaroni
Put large pot of water on high heat; add tsp. olive oil, crushed garlic and spice. When water boils, add macaroni. Stir once or twice until water returns to a boil.
While water heats, place olive oil in non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and bell peppers. Sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are soft. Add garlic and sauté briefly, then add chopped tomatoes; stir and sauté another two or three minutes. Add wine (or water), bring to a boil. Cover. Lower heat to a simmer until macaroni is done.
Drain macaroni well when slightly al dente, and return to pan. Add veggie mixture and leave on as low a heat as possible.
Warm milk. Place cheese, 1 cup of milk and cheese base (or flour or cornstarch) in a blender or food processor. Process, adding milk as needed until smooth and pourable. Add to macaroni with rest of milk, chopped olives, capers and black pepper if desired. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and macaroni is coated.
Note: You may add the cheese and cold milk directly into the macaroni mixture, reserving 1/2 cup milk to make a slurry with the cheese base or flour or cornstarch. However, the cheddar has a tendency to clump and clot. Bring to a boil, then add slurry slowly and continue to cook until thickened.