Caprese Mac & Cheese

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Tips For The Best Caprese Mac & Cheese

Indulge in this fresh and summery recipe that hits all the right spots no matter the time of year. Who doesn't love a healthy enhancement that adds depth and flavor? With this Caprese Mac & Cheese, you get both. Plus, you can leave the balsamic vinegar out for this – the tomato, basil oil, Flagship cheese, and squeaky-fresh cheese curds will leave you speechless all on their own.

How To Make Caprese Mac & Cheese

For this recipe, we are bringing it back to basics – but (of course) adding a Beecher’s twist. You’ll find that we substitute mozzarella for our fresh cheese curds – these guys bake off just right, allowing for the top of the mac and cheese to crisp while still delivering a massive cheese pull!

 

The key to this recipe is finding your perfect tomato. For a firmer and more flavorful taste, Romas have the right balance for thin slices. If you are seeking a delicious pop of juicy, fresh flavor per bite, then whole cherry tomatoes are your best bet. If you want to throw back to the Tuscan cross-sections of tomato topped by mozzarella fresca, you

can substitute for chunks of heirloom tomato (which can add a unique colorful quality to your dish, too!) Ultimately, we use a Roma tomato for this recipe for not only its tangy, fresh-from-the-garden flavor, but also its firmer texture and color which hold up during the baking process. Remember to keep your tomato at room temperature before cutting. Refrigeration can cause tomatoes to retain more water and lose taste, so keep it out until you’re ready to incorporate it into your mac.

 

We infused olive oil with basil in our test kitchen and used it to finish off this dish. If you can’t find any, there are other options. Fresh chopped basil and olive oil will do the trick!

cheese curds and roma tomato

Serve & Store

Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy hot. Since this recipe uses fresh tomato, it's best enjoyed once baked, but leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4 (as a side)

Ingredients

6 ounces penne pasta

8 ounces Beecher's Flagship cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

1-1/2 cups milk

2 ounces Beecher's Just Jack cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Pinch garlic powder

1/2 small Roma tomato, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)

1 ounce chopped fresh curds (about 1/3 cup)

1-1/2 tablespoons basil oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Cook penne 2 minutes less than package directions. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk while whisking. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  4. Add 1-3/4 cups Flagship cheese, 1/4 cup Just Jack cheese, salt, 1/4 tsp. chili powder, and garlic powder. Stir until cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes.
  5. Combine pasta and sauce in a large bowl and mix carefully. Fold in the tomato. Scrape into an 8-inch baking dish. Top with remaining Flagship cheese, cheese curds, chili powder, and basil oil.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Let Mac & Cheese sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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