A little post on cheese...

Mac & cheese Tomato Bowls


Disclaimer: I LOVE cheese....

Yes! Give me a platter of cheese and fruits and I am a happy girl! It's,to me, the perfect lunch, dinner or in-betweens. The sheer variety of them and their orgasmic flavors do things to your palate that perhaps no other single food item can match!

When the Wisconsin Milk Board reached out to me to develop a recipe using their variety of fresh cheeses, I simply had to say yes. Honestly, it really was not difficult. Truth be told, I have been familiar with the cheeses of the region for a few years now, thanks to my cuz pandering to my cheese-y love!

Rouge Tomate!


Now the dish was decided - Mac and Cheese and I choose the theme of making a lightened up version for Summer. My approach is to maximize the flavor of the cheese by using aged varieties and serving them in vegetable bowls.

Aged cheese is strong in flavor and a little goes a long way. So you can get the same awesome flavor by using only half the usual quantity. I used a combination of Gruyere, Bellavitano and Gran Queso cheeses. A tip is to use bold cheeses that you would also typically serve with red wine. Their bold flavor will be perfect to infuse the pasta with a small quantity.

Mac & Cheese Prep


Bellavitano has fruity Parmesan flavor that is also creamy and melts right into the sauce. Gran Queso is the perfect cheese to finish off the mac & cheese at the end of baking and again while serving as also on the salad to tie the meal together. They are both individually perfect snacking cheeses!

This recipe is a great way to make a beloved recipe season perfect!



Summer Mac and Cheese in Tomato Bowls

Makes 6 servings

This recipe is also on the Wisconsin Milk Board's blog.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups elbow pasta
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups hot milk
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) Wisconsin Gruyere Cheese, grated
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) Wisconsin BellaVitano Cheese, grated
1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, peeled and skins retained
6 beefsteak tomatoes
3 tablespoons Wisconsin GranQueso Cheese, grated

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375Β°F.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salty water until al dente. Meanwhile, on low heat, melt the butter, add the flour and whisk slowly until the raw smell goes away but not too much so it does not brown. Gently add the hot milk while whisking continuously. Continue cooking on low heat while whisking until the sauce starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the Gruyere and BellaVitano cheeses and mix well until you get a stringy sauce. The pasta should be ready by this time. Drain the pasta and gently fold it into the sauce. Add the fresh peas and fold gently. I also use the skins, diced small. They are a great source of nutrients.

Slice the top of the tomatoes and core them. But, make sure not to cut too deep at the bottom. Lightly salt the inside of the tomato and divide the pasta equally into the tomato bowls.

Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the grated GranQueso over the top; increase temperature to 400Β°F and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove, cool for a few minutes and serve with a light salad.


Mac & cheese Tomato Bowls1