Caprese Mac and Cheese

Enjoy caprese mac and cheese, a summer indulgence to swoon over, starring hand torn fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes and ribbons of basil.

Caprese Mac and Cheese

Caprese Mac and Cheese is completely a thing, and summertime is the perfect time to enjoy it. I know most of the dishes I feature are on the lighter side, but we all have to allow ourselves the freedom to indulge from time to time, and I for one am never able to resist mac and cheese in any form.

Caprese Mac and Cheese

For that reason I try not to make it too often and save it for a special indulgence, or make a lighter version like my dairy free butternut squash mac and cheese. And of course, substituting gluten free pasta for this or any macaroni and cheese recipe is always an option.

Let’s get into this Caprese Mac and Cheese. It takes all the goodness that exists in a classic caprese salad and combines it with warm, cheesy, gooey mac and cheese perfection. There’s nothing that’s not to love here.

Caprese Mac and Cheese

I prefer to use all white cheeses in this dish to let the tomato and basil flavors sing, so mild white cheddar, melty fontina and nutty gruyere are my cheeses of choice here. We can’t forget the fresh mozz, too. Also, whenever I make a white mac and cheese, or any white creamy sauce for that matter, I like to add a little fresh nutmeg. It will add such a nice subtle note so you really mustn’t skip it!

Once last tip before I leave you to enjoy this Caprese Mac and Cheese: depending on what kind of tomatoes you’re using, you may want to remove the seeds, otherwise you could wind up with a wet and soggy mac and cheese mess on your hands, and nobody wants that. I usually will remove the core of the tomatoes and chop up only the meaty flesh part.

Caprese Mac and Cheese

Caprese Mac and Cheese
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Caprese Mac and Cheese

Enjoy caprese mac and cheese, a summer indulgence to swoon over, starring hand torn fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes and ribbons of basil.

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces fusilli or other short tube pasta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for baking dish
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded white cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere
  • 1 cup shredded fontina
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta.

  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes, then slowly whisk in the milk. Add the salt and nutmeg and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thick, about 8-10 minutes. 

  3. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheddar, ¾ cup Gruyere and ¾ cup Fontina until melted. Add the pasta, half of fresh mozzarella and half of tomatoes and stir until incorporated with cheese sauce. Add the pasta mixture to a buttered 2-quart baking dish or 8 buttered ramekins and top with the remaining cheeses and tomatoes. 

  4. Sprinkle with panko and bake for about 20 minutes. After baking, top with ¼ cup chopped basil.

 

Caprese Mac and Cheese

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