Caprese Mac & Cheese

I feel like I'm always on the hunt for the perfect pasta dish; one that's not too time-consuming, doesn't use a bunch of expensive ingredients, and one that my husband and toddler's taste buds will both sing for joy upon the first bite.

This pasta dish is most definitely at the very tippity top of that list right now. The sauce tastes INCREDIBLE with zero effort. The mozzarella is impossibly creamy and packs so much rich flavor into the dish. Usually I'd use maybe half the amount of mozzarella in a pasta dish, but using the full amount changed my life! The taste was perfect, and had completely switched the amount of cheese I'll use in my pasta sauces from now on.

I chopped up a few fresh tomatoes (I love buying them vine-on. It helps get that picked-from-the-garden flavor in the dead-tundra-of-snowmageddon we have in Utah every February), and threw them right on the sauce-soaked pasta. I always keep a basil plant in my kitchen by my window, so I just snipped off a few leaves and sliced them up for the top.

I know what you're thinking... this is a caprese dish, and you've added absolutely no hint of basalmic vinegar? How dare you call this caprese, woman!? Well, my friends, sometimes just having it on the table next to the dish counts, too, right? Maybe? Hmm...You can sprinkle a few drops on your finished product if you're a die hard caprese purist. Us? we devoured it as is.


Caprese Mac & Cheese
makes 4 servings

8oz macaroni (I used cavatappi)
2 T unsalted butter
2 T all-purpose flour
1 1/4 C milk
1/2 C heavy cream
8oz fresh mozzarella, shredded
salt and pepper
2-4 juicy vine-on tomatoes, diced
1/4 C fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

1. In a large pot of salted water, prepare pasta according to directions on package. Drain, set aside.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. When completely melted, whisk in flour until there are no lumps, let cook for 1 minute until lightly browned. Immediately whisk in milk and heavy cream, and cook, whisking constantly, until completely incorporated. Should be getting thick. Stir in mozzarella, about 1/2 C at a time, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place pasta in a medium bowl, and pour sauce over pasta. Serve immediately, topped with tomatoes and basil.

recipe source: damn delicious 

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