The following recipe and photography were provided by local blogger Carolyn Hodges of The Dinner Shift.
Creamy mac and cheese meets the epitome of summer flavors in this fun comfort food fusion recipe!
I love a classic caprese salad, especially in the summer when locally grown heirloom tomatoes are at their best. So why not incorporate fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella into everyone’s favorite side dish? This mac and cheese is perfect for summer cookouts and gatherings. It’s also a delicious vegetarian main dish.
This is not your average mac and cheese recipe. You don’t need to bother making a roux because the pasta cooks in just the right ratio of whole milk and water, creating a luscious, creamy base for the cheese.
I used Heinen’s triple cream brie, mozzarella and pesto to create the most delicious sauce, and topped things off with sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella pearls and lots of fresh basil.
If you prepare the pasta in an oven-safe pot, like an enameled pan, you do not need to transfer it to a baking dish before topping with tomatoes and baking.
- Cook time:
- Prep time:
- Total time:
- 16 oz. Heinen’s organic tri-color conchiglioni artisan pasta
- 3 cups Heinen’s whole milk
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. Heinen’s garlic granules
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup Heinen’s shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
- 1 Heinen’s triple creme brie wheel, rind removed and cubed
- ¼ cup Heinen’s pesto genovese
- 2 locally grown heirloom tomatoes, sliced thin
- Black pepper
- 2/3 cup fresh mozzarella pearls
- Fresh basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Combine the pasta, milk, water, butter, garlic and salt in a large, oven-save enameled pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat and continue to cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Be sure to stir the pasta every couple of minutes to keep it from sticking to the pan.
- Stir in the mozzarella and brie until completely melted, then fold in the pesto and season the pasta to taste with salt, if needed.
- Transfer mac and cheese to a greased baking dish (optional). If you cooked the pasta in an oven-safe pot, you do not need to transfer the pasta.
- Top the pasta with the sliced tomatoes. Season the tops of the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the mozzarella pearls over the tomatoes. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove the pot or baking dish from the oven and top with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.
Inspired by Half Baked Harvest.