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
chopped walnuts, shelled divided in 2 cups and 1 cup
thick slice of sourdough bread, crusts removed
flat leaf parsley, chopped
grated Parmesan divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup, plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2 quart casserole dish.
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.
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.
Fold the macaroni into the walnut sauce and pour into prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Melt butter in a saute pan. Add bread crumbs and remaining 1 cup walnuts and toss. Top macaroni with walnut-breadcrumb mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
Divide among plates. Garnish with more parley, grated Parmesan, and walnuts.