Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pesto Mac N Cheese with Italian Sausage



Who doesn't love pesto? (If you're one of them...just don't tell me and we'll remain friends). Every summer, I have mounds of fresh basil from my herb garden that beg to be made into pesto. If you need a recipe, here's mine: Garlic and Basil Pesto

I fill some jars for friends and myself, I then freeze some in ice cube trays (later place in freezer bags) and store it all in freezer, giving me a complete supply for the year.  Besides using it as the usual spread and enjoying it straight up with pasta...what are some ways you enjoy pesto?

I decided to spice up my mac n cheese the other night. This idea was born at the grocery store as I was literally pacing the meat department, trying to spot something that would spark some interest with my taste buds. Italian sausage caught my eye....and a delicious dish was thus born.

Pesto Mac N Cheese with Italian Sausage
Printable Version

8 oz cooked pasta (you want to use something with ridges or holes. I used Riccioli)
8 oz crumbled and cooked Italian sausage (I used hot Italian sausage)
2 TB butter
2 TB all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half and half or milk (a bit more if sauce is too thick)
1/2 cup garlic and basil pesto
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz muenster cheese, shredded
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese,shredded (or more if desired) for topping

Preheat the oven to 375' F. Spray a 1.5 quart oven safe dish with cooking spray. Pour the cooked pasta and the cooked sausage into the dish. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter over a medium low heat. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking for a few minutes. Don't let the flour get too brown. Slowly whisk in the half and half (or milk if that's what you're using). Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens. Don't let this happen too quickly...you want to cook out the flour taste. Add the pesto, muenster and mozzarella cheeses and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce over your pasta and sausage, stir just a bit to make sure it's everywhere. Top with Parmesan cheese



Bake for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned on top. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. 

This dish can easily be doubled and is sure to please any pesto lover! It's satisfying, flavorful and is bound to ease that oohie-gooie cheese craving that strikes every now and then. 


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5 comments:

  1. This looks so nice. I like cheese, and this one, sure creamy and flavorful. I am thinking to add some slices boiled eggs and chopped cashew nut. It should be nice in this. :)

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  2. Oh, I bet this is wonderful. And how nice to have some pesto in the middle of Winter!

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  3. Pesto mac and cheese - what a great variation!

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  4. Your pesto and sausge recipe looks great! I have never made pesto but will have to try it soon!

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  5. Pesto? Cheese? Sausage? How could this be anything less than fabulous?! What a great dish.

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