Tuscany-style mac & cheese

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Main Ingredient: Cheese, Pork, Pasta
Menu Part: Entree
Cuisine Type: American
Serves: 12

Ryan Conklin, executive chef, says this take on mac and cheese is served in the retail café at a cook-to-order station. Conklin developed the recipe to take advantage of the fresh basil grown in the hospital’s garden. Conklin says that being in the South, mac and cheese is “very dear to our customers. But we sometimes like to trick it out a bit and offer a mac and cheese bar that enables us to introduce some new flavors but keep with the comfort food concept that makes it so popular.”

Ingredients

2 pounds cooked gemelli pasta
4 cups Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce (recipe below)
½ cup prosciutto ham, cut into thin strips
½ cup medium-dice roasted red peppers
½ cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1 cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup shredded Asiago cheese

Gorgonzola cheese sauce
Yield: 6 cups
5 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. all purpose flour
4 cups milk, hot
2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg 

Steps

Gorgonzola cheese sauce
1. In saucepan, heat butter on medium heat until melted. Stir flour into butter and mix well for 6 to 7 minutes, until it turns golden brown color.

2. One cup at a time, add hot milk. Mix well so there aren’t lumps. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. Mix in cheese, grated nutmeg and salt, and simmer until cheese is melted.

Mac and cheese
1. Toss pasta with cheese sauce and mix well.

2. Mix in prosciutto, peppers and fresh basil.

3. Toss breadcrumbs with Asiago cheese and top pasta mixture evenly. Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes, until golden brown color is achieved. 

Recipe by Rex UNC Healthcare (Raleigh, N.C.)