November 3, 2010 | Pasta & Pizza
I’ve been really busy for the past ten days helping my dad post knee-surgery and getting my parents ready to move to a new apartment (translation: I’ve cleared out 40+ boxes of things they don’t need and have brought them to my house for family to go through before a charity run). And as I’m prone to do when I’m a bit stressed, I had to have some comfort food. Fortunately, I needed to make this recipe for the next cheese newsletter for Gourmet Cooking & Living, and well, I couldn’t just throw it out when I was done, could I?!It’s really easy to make a fancy and delicious mac & cheese dish. It starts by using interesting flavors in the dish – my choice included a fabulous blue cheese from Gourmet Cooking & Living which they sent me to work on the newsletter. Start by melting the cheese in some heavy cream over low on the stove.You want it nice and creamy like this before you add the halfway cooked penne pasta.I also added a jar of roasted tomatoes from Argentina I’ve had on hand since a trip too long ago. You could use canned roasted tomatoes or diced tomatoes, or even fresh tomatoes – simply seed them first if using fresh. Don’t be concerned that the mac & cheese looks really runny at this point. Because the pasta is only partially cooked, it’s going to absorb liquid in the oven plus the cheese sauce will thicken.Top it with some bread crumbs mixed with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, then drizzle with a little melted butter which helps the topping crisp up in the oven.After about 40 minutes in the oven it comes out perfectly browned like this.And notice how all of the cream sauce has thickened?This is really good comfort food, and I suggest serving it to your family and eating it right away. While it can be reheated in the oven or the microwave, it’s really at its creamy best when it’s fresh from the oven!
Gourmet Mac & Cheese
8 ounces penne pasta
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup roasted tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta only until very al dente, about 6 minutes. While pasta is cooking, combine blue cheese, mozzarella and goat cheese with cream in a medium saucepan and heat over medium flame, stirring frequently, until cheeses are melted together. Fold together pasta, cheese mixture, tomatoes, and oregano. Pour pasta into a buttered 8×8 baking dish. Combine Parmesan and bread crumbs and sprinkle over top of pasta. Drizzle butter over bread crumbs. Bake uncovered until cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are browned, about 30-40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.