Caprese Mac & Cheese

This will be a light week here on The Three Bite Rule until after labor day. I feel like everyone really has the mentality that there’s only a short time to make the most of the end of summer. Summer food isn’t over but September is fast approaching!

I have been looooving the 70-degree days we’ve been having here in New England. I like being able to turn the oven on occasionally. I made some Caprese Mac & Cheese with the plethora of cherry tomatoes from the garden.

The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

1/2 pound penne rigate
4 tbs butter, and another 2 tbs for topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup gruyere cheese
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 1/2 – 2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
salt & pepper
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tbs parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta to al dente.
In a medium sauce pan melt 4 tbs butter over medium heat, then add the flour and whisk together cooking for about 5 minutes.
Add in the milk and cream and stir well over medium low heat until combined.
Drop the tomatoes onto a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Up the oven temp to a broil and cook them for 5 minutes being careful not to let them burn.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
Slowly add in 3/4 of the cheese and stir.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and mustard.
Mix in the pasta to the cheese sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and spoon in 1/2 the mac & cheese.
Sprinkle 1/2 the basil and 1/2 the tomatoes and 1/2 the remaining cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
Repeat another layer on top of pasta, basil, tomatoes, and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
Melt the remaining 2 tbs of butter and mix with breadcrumbs, parmesan, and dried basil.
Sprinkle on top and bake for 40 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
I liked the light flavored cheeses allowing the tomatoes and basil to pop. It felt summery even if mac & cheese isn’t truly a summer dish. I also was proud that the tomatoes and basil were home-grown.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese

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