Mac 'n' Cheese with Winter Pesto
A cheesy pasta dish is great any time of the year, but the flavors of sweet and spicy in Rachael's winter pesto make this dish more comforting than ever!
- 1 pound orecchiette (little ears) or other small pasta shape
- For the Winter Pesto:
- 1 loosely packed cup each: parsley (grassy), arugula (spicy), basil (sweet)
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, pasted or minced
- About 1/3 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- For the Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 rounded tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 1/2 pound Italian Fontina cheese, such as Fontina Val d’Aosta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Yields: Serves 4
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In large pot of salted, boiling water, dump pasta and undercook by 2 minutes. Drain and reserve.
Pulse-grind the ingredients for the pesto sauce in a food processor or hand grind them in a large mortar and pestle.
Melt butter in a saucepot over medium heat. Whisk in flour, cook 1 minute, then whisk in milk. Season sauce with salt, pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg, simmer at a low bubble and thicken to coat the back of a spoon. Adjust seasoning to taste. Stir in Fontina and melt, reserving a handful to top casserole.
Combine pesto, white sauce and pasta in a large mixing bowl. Adjust seasonings and place in a casserole dish, top with remaining Fontina and Parm, and bake 30-40 minutes until brown and bubbly on top.
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