This creamy, baked macaroni and cheese recipe does double duty as a side dish or a hearty meatless meal. The near-perfect flavor combination of goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes combines perfectly with the creaminess of the melted fontina and the delicate onion flavor of the chives to make a fabulous variation on a classic casserole dish.
Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb pipette, little pipes
- 3-3/4 cups whole milk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, white or black
- 8 ounces fontina cheese, coarsely grated
- 6 ounces chèvre, goat cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
- 1-1/2 tablespoons light olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pipette and cook until tender but not soft (al dente). Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously butter a 2-1/2 to 3-quart baking dish.
- Heat the milk in the microwave or a separate saucepan until very warm, but not scalded. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and blend with a whisk until well combined. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture develops a pale golden color, 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually add the warmed milk, whisking continually until well blended.
- Continue cooking, whisking frequently, until the sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 7 to 8 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the pan with a spatula once or twice during cooking to ensure there are no lumps in your sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the fontina and stir until completely melted. Add the goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and chives. Stir until smooth, then add the macaroni and combine well.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
- While the macaroni bakes, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the breadcrumbs and toss to combine. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the crumbs are lightly toasted, 2 minutes longer. Add the Asiago and combine.
- Remove the macaroni from the oven, top with the crumb mixture and return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
- Allow the macaroni and cheese to rest for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.