Tuscany-style mac & cheese

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.) 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chefs

We started inviting chefs and FSDs from other districts to come prepare lunch. Through featuring different chefs and chef-inspired meals, I’ve found the students have been looking forward to coming into the cafeteria. They are willing to try new things with crazy names, and to ask for their favorite outside items turned healthy.

Ideas and Innovation
tapas

I’ve created a high school “focus group” to see what future college students will want in terms of foodservice. This year, I called up two now-seniors from the last group to get 10 of their friends together. I also include a sophomore or two so that I always have a contact for next year. Tapas, grain bowls and late-night breakfast all originated from this group.

Ideas and Innovation
making meals

This summer, we teamed up with a church to deliver meals to three housing projects. We brought the meals to the church, and then the church recruited volunteers to deliver the meals to the children. We’ve been very impressed with this new model, and it shows great promise in getting meals to children who otherwise would not be able to leave their housing project.

Industry News & Opinion
sharing love

Having never personally experienced a hurricane, I can only imagine the horrors faced by the millions of people whose lives were affected by Harvey and Irma in late August and early September. It’s a group that comprises uncounted noncommercial operations, including Houston Independent School District, which serves 215,000 students.

But from that tragedy has come one of the most impressive feats of foodservice I’ve seen since coming on board at this magazine, partially spearheaded by Nutrition Officer Betti Wiggins , who only just joined the district. For the entire school year,...

FSD Resources