This is not the orange pasty mac and cheese out of a blue box. This reinvented classic is made with Mascarpone, Asiago, and Fontina cheese with ramp pesto. After dressing traditional elbow pasta with the creamy mixture it is put in the oven to bake until golden brown. Perfect with a nice green salad, crusty baguette and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
Jacqueline Church, of the very informative and fun site, The Leather District Gourmet and Suite 101.com, asked us to be part of her S/O/L/E Food Tuesday Event; we were more than honored, after all, have you seen how talented this woman is? She cooks, writes for the above mentioned sites as well as other publications and has two books in the works!?
S/O/L/E Food Tuesday, what is is? Sustainability, Cost, Local, Organics and Food Ethics. It is a regular day set aside for you to eat non-meat inspired dishes. Jacqueline stated it as the Non-Wimpy, Non-Hamburger Tuesday, which is perfect as veggies do not have to be Wimpy! Upon researching what I wanted to make for this event, I became quite surprised about how much vegetarian inspired meals we actually eat. We try to cut back on the consumption of meat, for health reasons as well as a way to keep our grocery costs down. Regardless, we always try to shop using Jacqueline’s guidelines. If, we cannot go local, we always go organic. Whether you eating organically or locally, I find it hard to believe when people say they would never know what to eat vegetarian, just look around you, you are probably do it more than you think!
Remember that Ramp Pesto? Well, the nice thing (we are trying to tell ourselves this) about being cold in San Francisco all year, is that comfort food never goes out of style. One of the cold chilly nights recently, the images of mac and cheese started dancing through our heads, so we came up with this very adult or very sophisticated child version of Mac and Cheese. I made an ultra creamy sauce using Mascarpone, Asiago and Fontina cheese and then smothered the heck out of some elbow pasta with some ramp pesto and the cheese mixture, baking it until golden and slightly crispy on top – WOW! The toasty pine nuts and garlicky ramp pesto really complimented the pungent Fontina and the creamy Mascarpone. Great vegetarian dish for a cold evening at home.
After you fill up on mac and cheese be sure to rush over to Jacqueline’s site – you will love it!!
Ramp Pesto Mac and Cheese
8 oz. fontina cheese
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
8 oz. asiago, grated
1/4 cup ramp pesto
1 lb elbow pasta, cooked until al dente
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
kosher salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to directions, drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Mix cheeses (reserve about 1/4 cup of asiago), with the reserved pasta water, until creamy, season with salt and pepper.
Mix pasta with pesto and cheese mixture and mix until blended.
Add to a buttered baking dish and sprinkle remaining asiago cheese on top.
Bake at 350 for about 20 – 30 minutes, until golden brown and lightly crispy on top.