Walnut Mac and Cheese

April 29, 2014
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Author Notes: When it comes to comfort food Mac and Cheese is high on everybody's list. This is our version of a grown-up Mac and Cheese; lighter with more complex flavors. Made with a bready and nutty milk sauce and a crunchy walnut topping, this dish will still impress even without all the cheese you typically put in this childhood classic. AGIRLANDAPIG

Serves: 6-8

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups chopped walnuts, shelled divided in 2 cups and 1 cup
  • 1 thick slice of sourdough bread, crusts removed
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 ounce grated Parmesan divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons Butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2 quart casserole dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook macaroni to al dente according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.
  3. While pasta is cooking prepare the walnut sauce. Put bread in a bowl and cover with the milk to soak. In a food processor, crush the garlic clove with salt. Add 2 cups walnuts and grind to a paste. Add excess milk and soaked bread to the walnut paste. Pulse to blend together. Add olive oil, 1/2 cup Parmesan, squeeze of lemon, and chopped parsley. Pulse to combine.
  4. Fold the macaroni into the walnut sauce and pour into prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  5. Melt butter in a saute pan. Add bread crumbs and remaining 1 cup walnuts and toss. Top macaroni with walnut-breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Divide among plates. Garnish with more parley, grated Parmesan, and walnuts.

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