Pesto and Goat Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

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We love pesto.
We love goat cheese.
We love macaroni & cheese.
Enough said.

We had our friend Matt over for brunch on Sunday and after finishing our bagels and flipping through some of our favourite cookbooks, we all decided we’d like to spend the afternoon cooking together.  We debated everything from bear claws and doughnuts to cakes and pies before finally settling on simple dishes done up gourmet style.  This eventually evolved into the concept of cooking a whole bunch of food and taking it over to Rick & Carina’s apartment for dinner.

We baked chocolate chip cookies with a bit of dried fruit mixed in, made hamburgers with extra old cheddar and poblano peppers mixed in the actual ground meat mixture, and topped it all with this intensely flavoured macaroni and cheese dish.

This dish is indulgent.  It has 1 3/4 cups of parmigiano-reggiano, 2 cups of heavy cream, 16 ounces of goat cheese and 1/2 cup of pesto.  Will we make it again?  Of course!

Pesto and Goat Cheese Macaroni and cheese (courtesy of YumSugar)

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for baking dish
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil leaves
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 3/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
1 pound pasta shells
2 cups heavy cream
16 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup pesto sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.  Preheat the broiler and arrange a rack on top.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in medium bowl in the microwave.  Add garlic, basil, panko and 1/4 cup of parmigiano.  Mix well and reserve.

3. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add pasta and cook.

4. Meanwhile, put cream in a small pot and bring to simmer over low heat until reduced and slightly thickened (5 to 7 minutes)

5. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water and drain pasta.  Put large pot over low heat and add warmed cream.  When it simmers, add goat cheese and whisk until smooth.  Add remaining parmigiano and whisk until melted.

6. Add pasta and stir to coat.  Stir in pesto, reserved cooking water (if needed), salt and pepper.

7. Pour pasta mixture into baking dish and top with panko mixture.  Broil just until mixture bubbles and top is browned, no more than 2 to 4 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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6 Responses to “Pesto and Goat Cheese Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. Adam Says:

    Thank you for spelling doughnut properly.

    Also, OMG! TASTY!

  2. nat Says:

    That sounds evil. Holy crap.

  3. Emily Says:

    Boo-urns!!! I can’t believe I missed out because I’m bad with checking my phone messages 😦

    • Cari Miller Says:

      We were sorry to miss you! Ah well. We’ll find an excuse to cook and/or eat an elaborate meal with you before long, I’m sure 🙂

  4. ziegen Says:

    I really love goat cheese desserts, their are awesome. If I have guests, I just make goat cheese deserts and they love it. Are there any other good uses for goat cheese?

  5. 2010 Food-In-Review « Life at No. 71 Says:

    […] Pesto and Goat Cheese Macaroni & Cheese – This was not only an amazing meal, but one of our best days of 2010. After having Matt over for brunch, we decided to cook a meal and bring it over to our friends Rick & Carina’s place.  The highlight was definitely pesto and goat cheese macaroni & cheese – the perfect example of when three awesome things unite to make one incredibly tasty dish. […]

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