Not your traditional mac and cheese, this pesto goat cheese mac and cheese gives a unique spin on a traditional comfort dish. If you’ve never had pesto with goat cheese, you’ll soon realize it’s a great combination.
It’s the holiday season which is all about eating what you enjoy so I thought it was natural to share a recipe that combines two of my favorite ingredients into one of my favorite dishes – pesto goat cheese and mac and cheese.
I mean who doesn’t love mac and cheese? It’s been popular for quite some time in America. But most just love your stand old cheddar mad and cheese. For any non-pesto/goat cheese lover I feel sorry for you as you’re totally missing out on a great combination. If you give this goat cheese mac and cheese a try though, it just might change your mind. When helping my mom with her Christmas party every year, this was one of my go-to recipes to make and was always one of the first pastas gone.
The real reason this holds a special place in my heart though is it was part of the first meal I ever made for Lauren. On one of our first dates, somehow we got into how much we both love macaroni and cheese. As I had made many over the years I invited her over for some fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. The night she came over I decided to make my traditional cheddar mac and cheese but also my pesto mac and cheese.
Lauren thought I was trying to show off (maybe a part of me was), but I was really just excited to make mac and cheese so I wanted to make a couple different versions. She admits she was skeptical of the pesto one, but after one bite she was hooked. For anyone out there that has only made your “standard” mac and cheese, I suggest giving this pesto mac and cheese a try.
What Ingredients are in this Pesto Mac and Cheese Recipe?
- Produce – garlic and basil
- Panko breadcrumbs
- All-purpose flour
- Goat cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Black pepper
- Macaroni or orecchiette
How to Make Pesto Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese
- Melt 2 tbsp butter over low heat in small pan. Once melted, stir in panko breadcrumbs, garlic, basil and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- In medium sauce pan, melt 4 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth and it starts to bubble. Gradually add milk and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Add goat cheese, 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, pesto and black pepper.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Once cooked, add drained pasta to 13×9 baking dish. Stir in sauce and make sure pasta is coated. Top with panko breadcrumbs. Broil until top is browned, about 1-2 minutes.
Do You Make Your Own Pesto?
Anyone who follows this blog knows I love pesto, so yes I’m big on making your own pesto. My go-to is kale pistachio pesto. It takes 5 minutes to whip together and tastes better than store-bought. But if you’re in a pinch, store-bought pesto is no problem.
Other Mac and Cheese Recipes
- Baked Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese
- Smoked Gouda Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Baked Mac and Cheese Bites
Pesto Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 10 ounces goat cheese
- 1 3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought pesto
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb macaroni or orecchiette
- Melt 2 tbsp butter in small pan over low heat. Once melted, add panko, garlic, basil and 1/4 cup Parmesan and toss to combine. Set aside.
- Melt remaining 4 tbsp butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth and mixture starts to bubble. (About 2 minutes) While stirring, gradually add the milk and continue whisking until the sauce is creamy. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes until it thickens and you can coat the back of the spoon. Add the goat cheese, 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, pesto and black pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat broiler and put rack at the top. While sauce is cooking bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the macaroni according to instructions. Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish and add the drained pasta and sauce. Mix thoroughly, making sure all the pasta is coated. Top with bread crumb mixture.
- Put under broiler until the mixture bubbles and top is browned. Should be about 1 to 2 minutes. You can't leave unattended or it will burn. Remove from broiler and let rest for 5 minutes.