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tasty tuesday: white cheddar & arugula pesto mac n’ cheese

January 31, 2012

i’ve been entertaining quite often over the past few weeks so i have been trying to keep the menu somewhat simple, while still yummy. last week i was drooling over a white cheddar & arugula pesto mac n’ cheese recipe i saw on how sweet it is and thought that would be a perfect fit for last night’s girls’ night in. after all, comfort food is always welcome for these type of evenings [and should i also mention that the dress code was sweat pants?!]. i would say that my first attempt at homemade pesto was quite successful and the finished product was deeeeelish!

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arugula pesto

4 cups arugula

1/3 cup asiago cheese

3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil*

in a food processor, combine garlic, arugula and cheese. pulse until combined. stream in olive oil a tablespoon at a time until the pesto becomes smooth.

* i used a lime/riesling olive oil

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white cheddar & arugula pesto mac n’ cheese

serves 4-6

4 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta (smallish pasta works best, like elbow noodles, etc)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

10 ounces freshly grated white cheddar cheese + more for topping

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup arugula pesto

1/3 cup breadcrumbs

preheat oven to 400 degrees F

bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions.

while pasta is cooking, heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. once sizzling, add flour and whisk until smooth to create a roux. cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden and has a nutty aroma. add milk and cream, bring to a boil while constantly whisking. reduce heat to low and add cheese, then cook for a few minutes while stirring until cheese is melted and mixture thickens. add nutmeg, then taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

add pasta to a baking dish and pour cheese sauce over top. stir to distribute sauce, then stir in pesto. top with additional grated cheese and breadcrumbs. bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbly.

bon appetit!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alex permalink
    January 31, 2012 6:42 pm

    looks sooo good!

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