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Pesto Mac and Cheese

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Trade your potato recipe for this Pesto Mac and Cheese. Double or triple the pesto recipe, refrigerate some, and use it to top some fettuccini you whip up later that week. Put any leftover pesto in the freeze in ice cube trays.

Recipe Courtesy of Chef David Venable

Ingredients

For the pesto

  • 3 Cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/2 Cup spinach
  • 1/4 Cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 Cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon black pepper

For the Mac and Cheese

  • 1 Pound short pasta, such as penne, cooked
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Cups milk
  • 3 Cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 Cups Asiago cheese, grated
  • 3 Teaspoons salt
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Directions

For the pesto

To prepare the pesto, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until combined. Then, pour the pesto and pasta in a large bowl; set aside.

For the Mac and Cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter and in a medium-size sauce pot and stir in the flour. Cook for about a minute, stirring constantly. Add the milk and stir until the mixture has thickened and is nearly simmering. Add the Mozzarella, Asiago, salt, and pepper and stir until the cheese has melted.

Add the sauce to the bowl with the pesto and pasta. Fold together until combined. Pour the mixture into a 9x 13-inch baking dish.

Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and butter in a small bowl with a fork. Evenly sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the mac and cheese. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the topping has browned and the mac and cheese is bubbly.