Spring Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

Another great twist on Mac and Cheese:  Spring Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Spring Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch (about 12-ounces) asparagus
  • 2 medium leeks
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 ounces dried orecchiette pasta
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Romano cheese, divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Snap tough ends off asparagus; cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut root ends and tough green tops from leeks; cut leeks in half lengthwise and rinse well under running water, then thinly slice crosswise.
  3. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, stir the asparagus with the leeks, 1 Tablespoon butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until the asparagus is just tender, about 7 minutes, then remove from pan and set aside.
  4. In a large pan over high heat, bring about 3 quarts water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions; stir in peas at the end. Drain and return to pan.
  5. Meanwhile, tear bread into chunks and put in a food processor with 1/2 Tablespoon butter. Process until crumbs form.
  6. In the medium pan over medium-high heat, melt remaining 3 Tablespoons butter. Add the flour and thyme; stir until smooth and bubbling, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in milk and stir to boiling and thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add lemon peel, mustard, pepper, and remaining teaspoon salt. Remove from heat and add goat cheese and 1 cup Romano; stir until smooth.
  7. Pour sauce over drained pasta and peas. Add asparagus mixture and stir well. Scrape mixture into a 2 1/2-quart baking dish and spread level. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup Romano and the bread crumbs. Bake until sauce is bubbling and bread crumbs are browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
SOURCE:  RecipeGirl.com (via Sunset)

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