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