Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Caprese Mac & Cheese

FOUND IT: At the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board's 30 days 30 ways with Mac & Cheese blog.

Here's an interesting take on mac and cheese. It's very un-traditional, but if you choose a good mozzarella the cheese flavor really comes through, and it also has an intriguingly strong lemony flavor.

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp pepper, divided
  • 1 pound pasta (medium shells are the recommendation)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1 8-ounce ball Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
In a baking dish, combine grape tomatoes, olive oil, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove and let stand.

At the same time bring water to boil over high heat in a soup pot (recipe calls for a medium saucepan, I wanted more room); add pasta and cook until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and let stand in a separate bowl.

In the same sauce pan, combine milk, butter, shredded Mozzarella Cheese, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring continually, over low heat until the cheese melts into a thick sauce, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the drained pasta back into pan and toss to coat.

Pour the pasta and cheese mixture into an 10×14-inch oven-safe dish (I used a nine inch round) and top with baked grape tomatoes. You can use the juice from the bottom of the tomato pan as a marinade for the fresh mozzarella, if desired.

Place the seasoned Fresh Mozzarella on top of the pasta and tomatoes. Broil on high for five minutes or until cheese is melted and browning.

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