It's no secret that I love all things caprese. So when Stephanie posted this recipe for Caprese Macaroni and Cheese I was intrigued. Why had it never occurred to me to combine two of my favorite things into one dish?
This will come as no surprise, but this dish was outstanding. The gooey, cheesy mozzarella, the bright tomatoes and the fresh basil all worked so well with the creamy sauce. In an effort to make this a wee bit healthier I omitted the cream and upped the amount of milk. I also upped the amount of flour so the sauce would thicken. I used canned diced tomatoes, but if you've got tomatoes and basil in your garden I highly recommend using those instead. When I made this my basil plant hadn't started growing yet but thankfully my neighbors were overrun with basil and gladly shared some with me.
Caprese Macaroni and Cheese
As seen on Stephanie Cooks
1/2 pound elbows (or other short-cut pasta)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic (I omitted)
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
minced fresh basil, to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and place back in the pot.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and garlic (if using), stirring well. Add the flour, mixing, until a paste forms. Slowly whisk in the milk, broth, garlic salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and basil. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Add the cooked pasta, stirring, until covered in cheese sauce. Serve immediately.