Red, White & Bleu Mac and Cheese
So many Fourth of July themed dishes are of the dessert variety, and as much as I love desserts it seems only fair to share a savory option as well. This red, white and bleu mac and cheese is such a cute idea that I couldn’t resist trying it even though bleu cheese is one of the few varieties that I just don’t enjoy. Even though I was a bit unsure, I knew Ben (a bleu cheese lover) would be all for this. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really did enjoy this.
The bleu cheese flavor was noticeable, but blended nicely with the flavors of the other cheeses and the slight bite it provided was a nice counter to the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes. I can see this fitting right in with the typically cookout fare. And of course, if you’re really opposed to bleu cheese, you could always just up the other cheeses, served it in a blue dish and call it good. If you aren’t feeling the tomatoes, you could use bacon as the “red”. Definitely an adaptable concept. Have a happy and safe Fourth, everyone!
Yield: about 10 servings
1 lb. pasta shapes, such as cavatappi
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups milk (low-fat is fine)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
6 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese*, about ½ cup reserved
6 oz. shredded sharp white cheddar cheese*, about ½ cup reserved
6 oz. crumbled bleu cheese
1½-2 cups oven roasted tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta until just shy of al dente, according to the package directions. Drain in a colander. Return the empty pot to the burner over medium-high heat.
Melt the butter in the pot. Once melted, whisk in the flour, garlic, and cayenne. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Let cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheeses until fully melted. Return the cooked noodles to the pot and stir well to coat with the cheese sauce. Stir in the roasted tomatoes.
Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheeses on top. Bake about 15-20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is bubbling. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.
*For best results, always use freshly shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese comes coated in things such as flour, cornstarch to prevent clumping and results in an unpleasant, gritty texture when melted.