Lemon and Herb Mac & Cheese

Here’s a new twist on an old favorite. Creamy macaroni and cheese gets a flavor boost from lemon zest and fresh herbs for an upscale taste sensation. Add green peas and it’s a nutritious main course. Any leftovers make a great lunchtime treat for school or office.
Course: Main Course

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 medium lemons zested
  • 2 sprigs rosemary minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter plus extra for buttering a casserole dish
  • 1/4 cup pastry flour
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese grated
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan grated
  • 1/2 cup cooked peas

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and cook the pasta until al dente – not too soft.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water. Add the remaining olive oil and toss to coat. Set aside for the moment
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Use a little butter to grease a large casserole dish.
  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the 3 tablespoons butter over a medium setting. Allow the butter to cook for about 30 seconds, but not brown. Add the flour, whisking constantly, and allow it to cook for about a minute. Again, avoid browning it, and adjust heat if necessary.
  • Add about a half a cup of the milk, stirring constantly, till it thickens. Be sure to scrape from the bottom and sides as you continue to stir.
  • When the sauce is evenly mixed, add the rest of the milk slowly as you stir.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until it is bubbling and thick.
  • Turn the heat to medium low, and add about two-thirds of all three cheeses, stirring until melted.
  • Add the rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
  • Now, add the macaroni and peas, and stir to coat evenly.
  • Pour the macaroni into the prepared casserole dish.
  • Top with remaining cheeses.
  • Bake in the oven 30 to 35 minutes. The casserole should be golden brown on top.

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