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Caprese Mac and Cheese
Recipe Intro From delkins10

This recipe is featured in our Weekly Meal Planner Email Newsletter. Sign up for it here to have 6 great dinner recipes (along with a full shopping list) delivered to your inbox every Sunday!

We're feasting on this Caprese Mac and Cheese over at FeedfeedBrooklyn after Chef David Elkin from Murray's Cheese came to make it with our Editorial Director Jake Cohen!

Recipe

Prep time 15mins
Cook time 45mins
Yield: Serves or Makes 6
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For the Basil Pesto

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bunch basil, stems removed and saved
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, To Taste

To Make the Basil Pesto

Method

  • Step 1

    Place the pine nuts, garlic, and basil, and a pinch of kosher salt into a blender. Process until the nuts have just broken up. Slowly stream in the olive oil with the blender turned on.

  • Step 2

    Season the pesto with the grated cheese, black pepper, and more salt if necessary. Set aside.

For the Mornay

ingredients

  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces torn buffalo mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt, To Taste

To Make the Mornay

Method

  • Step 1

    Using cheesecloth and twine, make a sachet with the parmesan rinds, basil stems, sliced shallot, and smashed garlic.

  • Step 2

    Pour the milk into a medium sauce pot and place the sachet into the milk. Heat the milk over medium heat just until it begins to steam, whisking occasionally. Turn off the heat and let the milk steep for at least 8 minutes, then remove and discard the sachet. Add salt and cayenne.

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, make a roux. Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium high heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk until thoroughly combined. Cook the roux for 2 minutes or until it smells slightly nutty.

  • Step 4

    Add the roux to the milk and whisk over medium heat until it begins to thicken. Whisk in the mozzarella and parmesan. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.

For the Pasta

ingredients

  • 2 pounds radiatore pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cups Mornay, recipe above
  • 8 ounces bocconcini, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup basil pesto, recipe above
  • 1/4 cup basil, leaves only, stems removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, To Taste

Method

  • Step 1

    Heat oven to 400ºF.

  • Step 2

    Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil. Season with 2 cups of kosher salt.

  • Step 3

    In a medium mixing bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with the olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Spread onto a tin foil-lined baking sheet and roast in the pre-heated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or just until the tomatoes have some color.

  • Step 4

    While tomatoes are cooking, cook the pasta for 4-6 minutes or until al dente. Drain pasta.

  • Step 5

    Mix the mornay into the pasta, along with half of the roasted cherry tomatoes and half of the bocconcini. Transfer the pasta mixture to an oven-proof baking dish. Top the pasta with the remaining bocconcini and half of the grated parmesan.

  • Step 6

    Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the mozzarella has browned – you made need to broil the top to get a nice crust.

  • Step 7

    Once cooked, remove mac from oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes. Garnish the pasta with the remaining cherry tomatoes, dollops of basil pesto, the rest of the parmesan, and the basil leaves.