Image by Margaret Jaszowska

Baked Vegetable Camembert Mac and Cheese

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Baked Vegetable Camembert Mac and Cheese

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Ingredients

12 oz of Valicenti lumache (or any fresh pasta shape of your choosing, short being preferable)
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
3.5 oz camembert cheese, rind removed and cut into small chunks
2 oz parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 c Panko crumbs
1/4 tsp dried thyme, plus fresh thyme, for garnish (optional)


Vegetable Add-ins (optional)
- 1 red bell pepper, julienne or diced
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 head of broccoli, chopped
- 4 oz of baby bella mushrooms, sliced

Method

In a mixing bowl, combine the mozzarella, camembert, and parmesan cheeses. In a different bowl, combine the panko and thyme.
In pan, sauté vegetables together with a tablespoon of olive oil and stir occasionally until tender. Cover and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When butter starts to foam, whisk in the flour. Whisk continuously until the flour is well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk and continue whisking vigorously taking care that no clumps form. Continue whisking until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of heavy cream. Stir in the mustard, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to the lowest setting. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500, or broil.

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil, and cook pasta (cooking times may vary with shape, should be specified on back of package). When done, set aside, and stir in a light drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Slowly add the cheese mixture by the handfuls, whisking in between until just melted. The sauce should be thick, creamy and smooth. Remove from heat and fold in the pasta, stirring slowly until coated in sauce. Then add in vegetable sauté and fold into mac and cheese. Sprinkle the panko mixture and bake or broil for 4-5 minutes, until the top browns and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and let it cool for 5-7 minutes before serving.

(Note: If you prefer a different mix of vegetables, please feel free to add in whatever ones you like!)