You love pesto, I love pesto! I have to admit I was giddy when I found a recipe that combines the comfort of mac and cheese with pesto. It also uses another one of my favorites, goat cheese. Since I had already eaten a lot of elbow macaroni, I picked up a box of orecchiette. They are said to be shaped like small ears, but I think they look more like little bowls; a perfect vessel to fill with sauce!
The combination of goat cheese, Parmesan, and pesto is insanely creamy. For a great crunch and texture, the mac and cheese is topped with panko. Rather than make a big pan, I cooked it in easy-to-serve individual ramekins. With a little planning this recipe won't take much longer than a box of Kraft — except it's a million times more rewarding. If you want to wow your friends and family with scrumptious mac and cheese, keep reading!
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for baking dish *My sauce was plenty thick and did not require any reserved cooking water.
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil leaves
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 3/4 cups Parmesan
1 pound Orecchiette
2 cups heavy cream
16 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup pesto sauce, store-bought or home-made, more to taste if desired
1-1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, add to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for baking dish
*My sauce was plenty thick and did not require any reserved cooking water.