I’m not sure if its just me, but I find that unique or gourmet mac and cheese recipes have been rising in popularity. I can see why. Pasta and cheese are a match made in comfort food heaven and there are so many ways to build off of this base.
My gourmet version includes cavatappi pasta, a creamy sauce of white cheddar and mozzarella, topped with caramelized onion, pear, walnuts and blue cheese. I LOVE fruit elements in savoury applications. If you like pineapple on your pizza, or cranberries in your salad, I highly recommend you try this one out.
**Feel free to click on the red links for photo references**
Recipe makes 4 servings
- 1/3 cup of unsalted butter (and 1 extra tbsp for later)
- 1/3 cup of all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp of garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt (extra to taste)
- 1 pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cup of milk
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups of shredded white cheddar
- 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella
- 4 cups of cavatappi pasta
- 2 pears, diced (I used d’anjou and bartlett)
- 1/2 cup of yellow onion, diced
- 1 spring of rosemary
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup blue cheese (I used Roquefort, but stilton, danbleu, or gorgonzola are also great)
- Melt 1/3 cup of butter in a pot on high heat. Once melted, add all purpose flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir for approx. 3 minutes
- Turn heat to medium and slowly stir milk and cream into the roux. Stir for approx. 3 minutes (make sure there are no lumps of flour)
- slowly add cheese (small handfuls at a time). Keep stirring until the cheese has melted. The mixture should be thick but still viscous.
- Cook pasta until al-dente, then drain.
- Mix cheese sauce into pasta. Stir until all pasta is coated.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a pan on medium-high heat. Add onion, pear and sprig of rosemary. Saute for 15 minutes, until browned.
- Add a couple tablespoons of blue cheese and half of pear/onion mixture to cavatappi and cheese mixture. Mix and place in a baking dish. (If you don’t want as strong blue cheese flavour, leave it out of this step)
- Add chopped walnuts to remainder of pear/onion mixture, and saute on the stove for approx. 1 minute.
- Sprinkle desired amount of blue cheese and pear/onion/walnut mixture on top of pasta. Bake for approx. 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy:)