"That doesn't look like Mac & Cheese!" That's the reaction I got from a friend when I showed him the picture of the recipe I was planning to make. Quite honestly, that's exactly the reaction I wanted to get.
Most of us grew up eating the bright orange boxed kind. My Grandma (who looked after me while my Mom worked), would never serve us anything boxed or canned (except for veggies, yuck!). But from time to time, at home, I would eat Mac & Cheese from a box. I'm ashamed to say, that most of it, I've eaten as an adult. I used to crave the orange color and salty fake flavors.
Although this is really Penne & Cheese, the essence of the traditional dish is still there.
I used Gluten-Free Penne (brown rice), but you can use any type of pasta you want. The real secret is on the Homemade Mascarpone. The crunchy breadcrumb topping adds a light touch to the dish.
That's the new baby. It's fun to watch him learn how to run.
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For the Homemade Mascarpone:
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
Heat the cream on a double boiler until it reaches 190 degrees (bubbles will start to form on top). Add the lemon juice and keep stirring for 2-3 minutes until the cream curdles. You should be able clear whey streaks while stirring. Let it cool down for 20 minutes. Then strain for 8 hours in the fridge. Save your Mascarpone in a closed container in the fridge.
For the Pasta:
1 pound of Pasta (Macaroni, shells, penne, etc.)
6 ounces Mascarpone
1/2 cup chopped Tomatoes
pinch of Nutmeg
3/4 cup grated Seaside Cheddar (or any other soft cheese)
3 tbsp grated Parmesan
1/3 cup of Milk
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
2 tbsp fresh Parsley
Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the packages instructs. Drain and reserve.
In a small saucepan, combine together the mascarpone, cheddar, nutmeg, salt, pepper, milk until they melt together. In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan and finely chopped fresh parsley.
Add the cheese sauce to the pasta, add the tomatoes, combine very well in a baking dish. Top with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes.