I love macaroni and cheese. Made-from-scratch mac and cheese, four cheese mac and cheese, baked mac and cheese, and even the blue boxed Kraft mac and cheese. I can’t help it. There’s something irresistible about the pasta and cheese combination. And, it’s still good when you add things to it. Bacon, chicken, tomatoes, green chilis. It’s like macaroni and cheese is saying, “I’m a blank slate. Make me your own.”
What also happened this week is my co-worker gave me a great big bunch of fresh basil from his garden. I decided to take a stab at making basil pesto, and then I decided to combine the pesto sauce with homemade mac and cheese. It was a wild success. I’m s so delighted by it. I recommend making it today.
Pesto Macaroni & Cheese
Ingredients for pesto
1 1/2 cups basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for macaroni and cheese
1 1/2 cups dry rotini noodles or other curly pasta
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup half and half
2 oz goat cheese
1 diced Roma tomato
Preparations for pesto sauce
Add pine nuts and garlic to blender or food processor and pulse. Then add basil and salt and pepper and pulse some more. As you do that, drizzle in a little olive oil to desired consistency. Keep pulsing until everything is well-mixed. Set aside half the pesto, and refrigerate the rest.
Preparations for macaroni and cheese
1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
2. In a medium saucepan, add a tablespoon of butter and let it melt over medium heat. Then add a tablespoon of flour, and whisk together. It should thicken and be a golden brown color.
3. Add half and half and keep whisking. Whisk constantly and sauce will thicken.
4. Once the sauce begins to thicken, stir in goat cheese until well-combined. Season with salt and pepper and turn off heat.
5. Toss pasta in cheese sauce, then add pesto sauce and toss together.
6. Stir in diced tomatoes.