Little Lola's Macaroni and Cheese

March  3, 2016
1 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

My favorite Cleveland restaurant unfortunately just suffered a fire and is in the rebuilding process, and I can't wait until it reopens. One of my favorite dishes there is a white macaroni and cheese with goat's cheese and rosemary. I first tried it when I was a student, as a half portion would go on special during happy hour at the bar. Even now without such a tight budget, it is still my go-to comfort food. Here's to Lolita—enjoy. —Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus

Test Kitchen Notes

This pasta has a presence. The combination of goat cheese and apricots is sweet, creamy, and slightly tangy. I’ve never considered apricots in pasta before and got a little over-eager when adding them to the dish, making it perhaps too sweet. But this was an easy, filling dish that I would make again. —Katie Macdonald

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound rigatoni or penne rigate pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 7 to 8 dried apricots, chopped (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup)
  • 4 ounces chevre
  1. Bring a large pasta pot of water to boil while you start your sauce. Once boiling, salt the water well, then cook your pasta one minute shy of the directed cooking time, to just short of al dente, and drain.
  2. In a medium/large saucepan (large enough to later finish cooking your pasta in the sauce), melt the butter over medium heat. To the melted butter, whisk in the flour until well combined with no lumps. Cook for only a few minutes to remove the raw flour taste; this is a light roux.
  3. Whisking constantly, add the milk to your roux. Bring to a slow bubble over medium heat, whisking until the sauce just begins to slightly thicken. Add the rosemary, bay leaf, and apricots, and season with salt (go light initially and readjust if needed after the cheese is added) and white pepper. Continue cooking the béchemel sauce slowly over medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon, until the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Crumble the goat cheese into the sauce and stir to thoroughly combine (now you have a Mornay sauce). Add your cooked, drained pasta to the sauce and continue cooking for another minute or so, stirring to coat the noodles. If you care to garnish with a sharp cheese, I suggest Pecorino for this, as this sheep's milk cheese is tangy and echoes the goat cheese flavor—but I enjoy this straight from the pot as above!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
  • Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus
    Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus
  • Panfusine

9 Reviews

emcsull March 25, 2016
this is ingenious ! Why did this never cross my mind - I often each goat cheese with fruit, or apricot jam even. I can't wait to try it. And walnuts are a really good addition, they go well with goat cheese too.
Fantastic !
Emily |. March 28, 2016
I am starting to think I need to try this with walnuts! I also was inspired to add the apricots by an appetizer we have around the holidays which is a savory goat cheesecake with apricot jam atop. Hope you enjoy.
LeBec F. March 13, 2016
I know you love this dish and I love your story of how it came into your student life, but also tell me, do you think chopped walnuts and chile flakes
might add to its appeal?
Emily |. March 14, 2016
I am of the non-spicy persuasion myself, but some toasted walnuts sound great especially with goat cheese. I am a sack lunch packer so would keep on the side and sprinkle on top right before eating to keep the texture for leftovers!
Panfusine March 15, 2016
OMG.. I did exactly that, added toasted walnuts as a garnish , and then I see your comment. LOVED it. I went with more white pepper instead of chili flakes though. Delish!
Emily |. March 28, 2016
Glad you liked it! I agree that white pepper is the way to go for more heat.
Emily |. March 28, 2016
Oh and Panfusine, thank you for the lovely Insta-photo of the dish! Loved your plating on black, such nice contrast.
sexyLAMBCHOPx March 11, 2016
looks great and different!
Emily |. March 28, 2016
Thank you! Hope you get a chance to try it!