It's Friday and all I want to do tonight is watch a movie in my pj's with Canean. We haven't really seen each other very much this week and I have been looking forward to the weekend since Monday for that very reason. But of course we also have to eat and what I'm really craving is some comfort food to eat while I have my stretchy pants on. Sexy I know. My caprese macaroni and cheese is maybe my new favorite comfort food and way to eat mac n cheese. It has pesto and roasted tomatoes in it and I have somehow convinced myself that it is kind of healthy...
I mean, it's basically grown up mac n cheese (but your kids will love it too) and you are probably going to want to make it this weekend at some point. I am secretly hoping for a thunderstorm to roll in just about the time we settle in for the night while we stuff our faces with cheesy pasta and drink red wine.
Sometimes a girl wants to get dressed up and go out on the town, and other nights we just want our pajamas, some snuggly pups, our best guy, and a big bowl of cheesy pasta.
Tonight I'm feeling option two. But even if you are making up for my lack of a Friday night, which I hope you are, you will still need this mac n cheese to be part of your life sooner rather than later.
I promise you will want to eat ALL of it. (Hence the need for stretchy pants.)
- 1 Lb. Whole Wheat Pasta (whatever your favorite shape is)
- 2 Cups of Milk
- 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- Pinch of Nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper
- Pesto (1 Cup Basil, 2 Tbsp. Pine Nuts, 2 Garlic Cloves, 1/4 Cup Parm Cheese, Salt and Pepper, and 1/4-1/2 Cup Olive Oil, start with 1/4 Cup and add more if needed / Combine in food processor until well combined) You could also buy store bought pesto!
- 5 Fresh Tomatoes Roasted (Cook in a 375 degree oven for an hour. Slice the tomato in half, remove seeds and extra juice, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast away.)
- 2 Cups of Gruyere Cheese, grated
- Heat your oven to 375.
- Roast your tomatoes. After they have cooled slightly puree until smooth.
- About halfway through your tomatoes cooking (or you could do your tomatoes in advance) make your pesto.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta until a little before perfect al dente because it will continue to cook in the oven some. Drain pasta after it cooks.
- While pasta is cooking melt your butter in a medium sauce pan with heat on medium. Once butter has almost melted add your flour. Stir the butter and flour together for a couple of minutes to cook the flour a bit.
- Whisk in your milk to the butter and flour. Add your pinch of nutmeg, some salt, and pepper.
- Stir the milk mixture until the mixture thickens and the back of the spoon is coated.
- Add in half of your grated cheese. Stir until melted. Turn off heat.
- After pasta is drained (reserve a couple of ladles of the pasta water) place back into the large pot and add your béchamel sauce (the cheese and milk sauce). This is where you might need to add a little pasta water to thin out if needed.
- In a baking dish, spray with nonstick spray and scoop out half of the pasta and cheese into the bottom of the pan.
- Spread an even layer of the roasted tomatoes onto the pasta layer, and then top with a layer of pesto.
- Spread the rest of the pasta and cheese over top of the pesto and finish off with extra cheese and fresh tomato slices (I had pretty heirloom grape tomatoes, but you can use whatever.)
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and brown around the edges.
I'm sorry if after looking at these pictures you have decided to forego your Friday night excitement and join in on the stretchy pant, eating pasta party that will be happening at my house....or maybe I'm not so sorry.
Nom. Nom. Nom.