All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014
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This mac & cheese is the easiest of the three I posted this week. I already posted Smoked Gouda & Truffle Oil Mac and Cheese with Crispy Panko and Chipotle Gouda and Guinness (Stout) Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pulled Chicken (or Pork) in Homemade Chipotle Apricot BBQ Sauce – seen above, respectively.
I have also posted another version of mint & zucchini pasta in one of my earliest recipes in the first week or so of my food porn blogging adventure – Zucchini & Mint Pasta with Parmesan – seen below in a rather underwhelming photo.
That recipe was stolen from my friend Naomi but this mac & cheese is all mine. Mint & zucchini might sound odd but they add a light & refreshing taste to pasta – which is sort of the opposite of what you think of when you think pasta.
This mac & cheese was easiest because I did not bother with a roux. This can come together very quickly – like – the time it takes to cook the pasta – and then sit waiting on your counter (or fridge) until you are thirty minutes away from serving dinner.
Alas – my photos of THIS mint & zucchini dish are also underwhelming because 1) I didn’t photograph the leftovers until the next day (as these three mac & cheeses were made for a birthday dinner) and more importantly 2) I tripped over a dog gate as I carried the ramekins to a nicely lit spot & I took quite a fall. I broke a little table:
and hot mac & cheese flew all over a nutmeg leather & brocade love seat & all over the floor, too. My self-pity knew no bounds & the photo session was over. So – I had to settle for what I had taken so far. But – trust me – this dish is far yummier than the photos suggest & it really is easy.
Fresh Mint and Zucchini Mac and Cheese
1/2 to 3/4 lb macaroni (or pasta of your choice)
6 very large zucchini or 12 regular ones
1 bunch fresh mint
6 garlic cloves
2 TBS olive oil
2 cups pepper jack – grated
2 cup mozzarella – grated
1 cup Parmesan
4 oz cream cheese
Extra Parmesan for garnish
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the pasta.
Meanwhile, using a cheese grater or a food processor – grate all but one large (or 2 small) zucchinis. Slice the remaining ones into 1/4 inch thick rounds to be used to top the pasta – like you see on the one on the far right.
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Drop in the garlic cloves. I left mine whole because they were small but you can chop yours first – if the idea of biting into a whole clove later bums you out.
Add the zucchini & saute until soft. Season with S&P.
Chop the mint. Reserve some for garnish later & toss the rest into the zucchini pan. Stir to combine.
When the pasta is done, drain it & toss it with the zucchini mixture. Reserve 1 cup of mozzarella & the cup of grated Parmesan & mix the pepper jack, cream cheese & remaining one cup of mozzarella with the pasta.
Treat a casserole pan (or ramekins) with cooking spray & put the pasta mix in. Top with zucchini rounds & then with the 1 cup each of mozzarella & Parmesan.
Heat for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is all melted & bubbling & beginning to turn golden.
Let it rest 5-10 minutes, serve & garnish with more mint (and Parmesan) and lots of freshly ground pepper & then dig in.
Delicious, no? Told ya so!