Zesty Kale 2 Ways Fontina Mac and Cheese

Zesty Kale 2 Ways Fontina Mac and Cheese
Staff Writer
Maren Caruso

Kale seems to have become the vegetable of the moment, which is good news for kale lovers like me. In this mac and cheese, the hearty vegetable appears two ways: mixed into the casserole and also as a crispy topping. Because of this, it almost seems like it’s two different vegetables, which makes this not only delicious but also fun to eat.

6
Servings
681
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Notes

From Mac & Cheese, Please! 50 Super Cheesy Recipes by Laura Werlin/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 Ounces cavatelli pasta, or any small shell pasta
  • 12 Ounces curly-leaf kale, about 1 large bunch
  • 5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 Cups coarsely chopped yellow or red onion
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 Ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 Pounds whole or reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream
  • 12 Ounces fontina cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 Teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat the inside of an 8-inch square (1½-quart) baking dish or pan (or six 8-ounce ramekins) with olive oil. Set aside.

Fill a 4- to 5-quart pot about 3/4 full with water and add 1 tablespoon of the salt. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook, stirring once or twice, until tender but firm, about 8 minutes, and drain. Reserve the pot.

To prepare the kale, remove the stems. Cut 4 whole leaves into quarters and coarsely chop the rest. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the chopped kale and garlic and cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon of the salt and set aside.

Place the quartered kale leaves in a small bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2  the pecorino, and salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.

Using the same pot you used to cook the pasta, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and stir constantly until a paste forms, 30-45 seconds. Continue stirring for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture starts to darken slightly and smell a bit nutty. Slowly whisk in the milk, cream, and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and cook until the mixture starts to thicken and is just beginning to bubble around the edges, 5-7 minutes. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Add 3 cups of the fontina, the remaining pecorino, the cayenne, and nutmeg and stir until the sauce is smooth but not too runny. It should be similar in texture to cake batter. If it’s soupy, continue cooking until it thickens.

Add the pasta and chopped kale mixture, and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining fontina on top. Distribute the quartered kale leaves over the top. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until bubbling and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
46g
66%
Sugar
4g
4%
Saturated Fat
28g
100%
Cholesterol
91mg
30%
Carbohydrate, by difference
43g
33%
Protein
25g
54%
Vitamin A, RAE
658µg
94%
Vitamin B-12
1µg
42%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
41mg
55%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
2µg
2%
Calcium, Ca
566mg
57%
Choline, total
15mg
4%
Fiber, total dietary
6g
24%
Fluoride, F
1µg
0%
Folate, total
38µg
10%
Iron, Fe
2mg
11%
Magnesium, Mg
62mg
19%
Niacin
2mg
14%
Pantothenic acid
1mg
20%
Phosphorus, P
423mg
60%
Selenium, Se
14µg
25%
Sodium, Na
1378mg
92%
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)
1µg
7%
Water
236g
9%
Zinc, Zn
3mg
38%

Kale Shopping Tip

Buy green leafy vegetables like arugula, watercress, and collards – they are good sources of vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like iron and calcium.

Kale Cooking Tip

Brighten up sandwiches or salads with small, tender leaves like spinach and add larger, tougher leaves like kale to soups and stews.