Monday, June 4, 2012

Pesto Macaroni and Cheese

After making my first macaroni and cheese, it seemed like a good idea to expand on this theme and see what I could come up with.DSC01931


1 lb. macaroni
1/3 flour
1/3 cube butter
2C whole milk
12 oz. mixed Italian cheeses
2T pesto
Panko crumbs
basil flavored extra virgin olive oil



Start the sauce by melting the butter in a large sauce pan over low heat and adding the flour. Your object is to cook the raw flour but not to brown it.  Add the milk and whisk briskly so no lumps form. Then you may add the cheese.


Cook the pasta in boiling water until it is tender, not al dente. I have never had a good baked pasta that was al dente, nor has it ever seemed overcooked. save a cup of the water while draining the pasta. you may need it to thin down the cheese sauce.


Slowly melt the cheese into the bechamel sauce, then add  some of the pasta water to thin it out. You want it to be able to cover the pasta evenly and to have enough liquid to cook it a bit more. Add one tablespoon of pesto. Taste, and if you want a stronger flavor add more. At this time, you could also add salt and pepper, if you felt it necessary.   


Mix the sauce into the pasta, place in a buttered baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  While the pasta is baking, take the bread crumbs and saute them in the basil flavored olive oil. You may like to add a small amount of salt, but I didn't bother to do that. If you do add a very small amount, taste, then adjust to your liking.


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