Macaroni and Cheese served with Spring Mix Salad with Lemon, Honey and Fresh Herb Vinaigrette
Macaroni and Cheese! How could a food blog be complete without my own spin on this classic recipe? I’ve been working for years trying to find the perfect combination of cheese and I think I’ve finally cracked the code. I use a combination of fontina, gruyere, and mozzarella. Gruyere adds incredible flavor and a little bit of saltiness to the macaroni while fontina adds a subtle creaminess. Mozzarella brings everything together with its own melty goodness. Nonetheless, feel free to use whichever cheese you have on hand or change things up by substituting some of your favorite cheeses- perhaps cheddar or swiss. The bechamel sauce I provide here is a wonderful base recipe that can be used for a variety of recipes and into which can be stirred whichever cheese options you choose. As for the pasta, I love a traditional elbow macaroni but I also like to shake things up with cavatappi or other fun-shaped pasta. The best part of this meal is the seasoned panko breadcrumb mixture on top. After toasting under the broiler, the macaroni comes out with a golden-brown crust and a cheesy melty interior. I doubt you’ll have any leftovers, but if you do, they reheat beautifully. Mac & Cheese is wonderful on its own but is also a fantastic side dish to ham or steak. I almost always serve Mac & Cheese with Spring Mix Salad with Lemon, Honey, and Fresh Herb Vinaigrette and throw in some sliced apple slices and toasted pecans. The acidity of the vinaigrette pairs well with the creaminess of the macaroni.
Macaroni and Cheese and Spring Mix Salad with Lemon, Honey and Fresh Herb Vinaigrette
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 8 oz. fontina cheese, shredded
- 8 oz. gruyere cheese, shredded
- Salt and Pepper
- 16 oz. dried Cavatappi pasta
- 1 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a large stockpot, melt butter over med-high heat. Add flour, whisking to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes until mixture begins to brown slightly. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the milk. Bring to a boil.
- Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 8-10 minutes until thickened. Whisk often. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and add to cheese mixture, stirring to coat the pasta completely. Pour macaroni into 9×13 oven-safe dish.
- In a small bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the macaroni.
- Place Mac & Cheese under the broiler and cook until panko topping is browned. Keep a watchful eye- this happens quickly and you don’t want it to burn. Serve macaroni with Spring Mix Salad and Vinaigrette.
Spring Mix Salad with Lemon, Honey and Fresh Herb Vinaigrette
- 2- 5 oz. containers Spring Mix
- 1 red apple, cored and sliced thin
- ½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon finely minced Italian Parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely minced chives
- 1 tablespoon finely minced red onion
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup olive oil
- In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, honey, parsley, chives, red onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Place spring mix, apple slices, and toasted pecans in a large salad bowl. Drizzle some of the vinaigrette on top of the salad and serve the remaining vinaigrette alongside for everyone to help themselves.
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