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Caprese Mac and Cheese

A rich velvety macaroni and cheese made Caprese style, with fresh mozzarella, sun-ripened tomatoes, and basil leaves finished with a balsamic reduction.

Prep Time: 20 minutes 

Cook Time: 40 minutes  

Total Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6 – 8  

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound short cut pasta of your choice, cooked + 1 cup of pasta cooking water, reserved
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 (16-ounce log) Frigo® Fresh Whole Milk Mozzarella, divided
  • 5 ounces Frigo® 3-Cheese Italian Blend
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • Fresh basil, for serving
  • Balsamic glaze, for serving

Directions

Oil a 9×13 baking dish or equivalent casserole dish and preheat the oven to 375° F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al-dente (often 1 minute less than package recommendation). Drain well, but reserve 1 cup of cooking water.

While the pasta boils, shred ¾ of the 16-ounce log of Frigo® Fresh Whole Milk Mozzarella and thinly slice the last quarter. Reserve to side.

In the same pot you boiled the pasta, melt the 5 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook/bubble for 1 minute, continually whisking to avoid burning. Gradually whisk in the milk and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently until the sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes. 

Reduce heat to low and stir in reserved pasta water, the shredded Frigo® Fresh Whole Milk Mozzarella, the Frigo® 3-Cheese Italian Blend, cream cheese, pesto, dried onion, crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until the cheese is fully melted. 

Remove pot from heat and stir in the pasta and cherry tomatoes and then transfer to the prepared baking dish. Evenly layer the sliced tomatoes on top of the mac and cheese and then top with the slices of Frigo® Fresh Whole Milk Mozzarella. Place the baking dish on the middle rack of oven. Bake the mac and cheese for 25 minutes or until mozzarella is melted and the sauce is bubbling.  Turn oven to broil and cook for 3 -5 minutes or until mozzarella is browned.

Remove from the oven, top with fresh basil, sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper, and then drizzle with balsamic glaze.  

Serve rich and cheesy scoops of Caprese Mac and Cheese at your next garden party and celebrate the summer!

RAD TIP:  Top with crushed RITZ (or “butter”) crackers before broiling to add a yummy crunch.  

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