Plated + Served: Gorgonzola and Fig Mac and Cheese
Gorgonzola and Figs. A beautifully seductive pairing.
The gentle sweetness of the figs, folded in after the sauce is cooked, balances the saltiness and bite of the Gorgonzola.
Don’t forget to save a few of the spiky chopped figs to sprinkle on top after the breadcrumbs have turned golden brown and lovely.
When you make this recipe, you’re buying into the fact that it’s going to be mind-blowingly rich, decadent and loaded with flavors that will make you want to “even out the corners” until it’s all gone.
But, really, don't we all deserve a little indulgence every now and then? Yes we do.
Gorgonzola and Fig Mac and Cheese
prep: 10 minutes
cook: 15 minutes
bake: 10 minutes
4 tablespoons butter, divided
¾ cup panko crumbs
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream or half-and-half
1 egg, beaten
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
6 cups cooked rigatoni, penne or cellentani pasta
4 ounces fresh figs, cut into eighths and cut in half (reserve a few chopped figs for the topping)
let’s get to it…Move oven rack to the center of oven. Spray a 2 quart casserole container or 6 oven-safe paper baking cups 6 oven-safe paper baking cups with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Heat oven to 400°F.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add panko and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until panko begins to brown; remove from heat and set aside.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large saucepan (big enough to hold the cooked pasta).
Stir in flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the flour loses its uncooked taste. Reduce heat to medium low and whisk in the milk, cream/half-and-half and beaten egg.
Whisk in gorgonzola and Parmesan cheeses. Remove sauce from heat and add cooked pasta, stirring gently with a large spoon or rubber spatula to coat the pasta. Gently fold in the cut figs. Pour mixture into a 2-quart container and top with panko crumbs. If using baking cups, divide mixture and bread crumbs evenly between cups.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until hot and bubbly and the panko is golden brown. Remove from oven and top with the reserved chopped figs. Serve immediately.
cooking know-how: The oven-safe free-standing paper baking cups are perfect for maintaining portion control. My pals at Welcome Home Brands sent me a whole box of disposable paper bakeware earlier in the summer, which I’ve used like a fiend. The loaf pans, baking cups and mini-pans have been a lifesaver as far as the convenience and easy cleanup. Now if they could just figure out a way for this Mac and Cheese to taste this amazing, without all the calories…. Hmmm…