Bonus: Molly provides tips for preparing your mac & cheese for the freezer so you can meal prep in advance. YEH!
Mozzarella Pesto Mac & Cheese, 10 servings
1 lb. (16 oz.) Our Family mini shells or macaroni noodles
1/2 cup (113 g.) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (65 g.) all-purpose flour
6 cups (1.44 kg) 2% or whole milk
1 1/2 cup (6 oz.) shredded Our Family mozzarella
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Our Family swiss
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded Our Family parmesan, divided
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
5 Tbsp. prepared pesto
10 Tbsp. (32 g.) panko breadcrumbs
If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If preparing for the freeze, see directions below.
Cook the noodles to al dente per the directions on the box. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute. Add the milk, one cup at a time, whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon after each until thickened. Add the mozzarella, swiss and 1/2 cup of the parmesan and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add this point if you want to add fun mix-ins like cut up hot dogs or crispy back or peas or hot sauce, now's the time to do so. Stir in the noodles. It may seem overly saucy at this point but once it bakes up, it'll be perfect!
To bake immediately, pour into a 9x13 casserole dish, dollop all over with the pesto and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan and bake for 25 minutes, or until browned and bubbly. Enjoy!
To prepare for the freezer, divide into 10 individual containers (I like these because they are safe for the oven, microwave and freezer). Add a heaping teaspoon of pesto to the tops of each and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan. Let cool slightly, wrap well in plastic wrap, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes covered with foil plus 20 minutes uncovered, or until browned and heated through, or reheat in the microwave by heating for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through. Enjoy!
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