Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese Recipe

by Angela Sampers
0 comment

The perfect combination of pesto and mac and cheese is super simple to make. Enjoy as a vegetarian dish or add in some chicken for a protein-filled alternative!

This recipe satisfies the ultimate comfort food when you need it the most. Adding pesto into a mac and cheese recipe makes it flavorful and unique. Feel free to add in any additional ingredients that might add some of your own personal flavors.

This comfort food is just as gooey as it looks, and tastes as delicious as ever. I used a creamy ricotta and arugula pesto sauce but you could do a homemade pesto sauce, a sun-dried tomato or kale paste, or practically any flavor pesto that you like! This pesto mac and cheese is vegetarian but if you are looking for a protein filled meal start by adding chicken to this recipe.

Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese Ingredients:

How to Make Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese:

  1. Boil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta.
  2. Add-in. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes or until softened.
  3. Mix. Whisk in flour and let it cook for a few minutes until the flour taste is gone and a thick paste has developed.
  4. Whisk. Slowly whisk in milk, then heavy cream and a 1/2 tsp salt.
  5. Cook. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes so that it thickens and reduces.
  6. Season. Stir in the pesto and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Stir. Next, add the pasta and then stir until everything is evenly distributed.
  8. Mix evenly. Drop the heat to low and whisk in 2 cups of cheese, little by little until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
  9. Final touches. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes:

Check out these other delicious recipes!

Simple Chicken & Vegetable Lo Mein

Summer Peach Caprese Salad

Zucchini Noodle Pasta

Gluten-Free and Vegan Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats

Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese

creamypestomac

The perfect combination of pesto and mac and cheese is super simple to make. Enjoy as a vegetarian dish or add in some chicken for a protein-filled alternative. 

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • - 1 package medium shells pasta
  • - 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • - 3 minced garlic cloves
  • - 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • - 2 tbsp flour
  • - 1 cup milk
  • - 2 cups heavy cream
  • - 1 jar Pesto Sauce
  • - 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • - salt and pepper for seasoning

Instructions

    1. Boil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta.

    2. Add-in. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes or until softened.

    3. Mix. Whisk in flour and let the roux cook for a few minutes until the flour taste is gone and a thick paste has developed.

    4. Whisk. Slowly whisk in milk, then heavy cream and a 1/2 tsp salt.

    5. Cook. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes so that it thickens and reduces.

    6. Season. Stir in the pesto and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

    7. Stir. Next, add the pasta and then stir until everything is evenly distributed.

    8. Mix evenly. Drop the heat to low and whisk in 2 cups of cheese, little by little until the sauce is smooth and creamy.

    9. Final touches. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

  • If you don't have White Cheddar cheese try Mozzarella, Gruyere, Fontina, Gouda, etc.
  • Add in chicken for protein.
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