Pesto Mac and Cheese

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SourceJr Iron Chef Vermont: The Basil Bunch
Prep time20 minutes
Cooking time20 minutes
Total time40 minutes


Nothing says comfort food like Mac and Cheese, and not only will this comfort your soul, it will satisfy your taste buds.


3 cups
pasta, elbow (you may substitute any other pasta)
5 ounces
basil, fresh (remove stems, leave several leaves to the side for decoration)
4 cloves
garlic (chopped)
3 tablespoons
9 tablespoons
olive oil
3 tablespoons
butter (plus 3 Tbsp melted)
3/4 loaf
bread, Italian (crumbled)
3/4 teaspoon
garlic powder
cooking spray
1/2 cup
tomato, diced
5 ounces
cheese, asiago (finely shredded)
16 ounces
cheese, sharp cheddar (shredded)
1 1/2 pint
heavy cream, light
1 tablespoon
2/3 cup
water (for cornstarch)


Cook pasta according to directions on box, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of salt to the water prior to putting in the pasta.  Drain, mix with 12 ounces of the cheddar.  Set aside.

Pour 3 tablespoons of melted butter over the crumbled bread.  Add 3/4 tablespoon of garlic powder and mix thoroughly.  Set aside.

Make the pesto:  put the basil, asiago and garlic into an immersion blender.  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt.  Blend while slowly pouring in 2/3 cup olive oil.

Make the cheese sauce:  Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan, add all of the light cream.  Turn the heat up to high.  Whisk until almost boiling.  Dissolve 1 tablespoon of corn starch in 2/3 cups of water and pour into butter/cream mixture.  Whisk until thickened.  Melt remaining 4 ounces of cheese into the sauce, mix thoroughly.

Combine the sauce and the pesto, pour into pasta and mix until thoroughly covered.  Put in baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Put canned tomatoes in center of the pan, on top of the pasta.  Surround the tomatoes with the bread crumbs to cover the rest of the pasta.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or heated through.

Remove pan from the oven and decorate by placing the extra basil leaves around the tomatoes.