Mediterranean Macaroni & Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 oz. grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 8 oz. penne rigate pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • 6 oz. mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 oz. plus 2 Tbsp. shredded Asiago, divided
  • 1/4 c. chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 3 oz. feta, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp. panko
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray an 8" x 8" x 2" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Place the asparagus and tomatoes onto a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, toss to coat. Place into preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes until asparagus begins to soften and tomatoes begin to burst. Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes. Using a fork, slightly smash tomatoes, releasing their juices; set aside.

Meanwhile, bring 3-4 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add in the pasta, salt to taste and cook according to package directions, to al dente. Drain; set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add in the garlic and shallot and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until mixture thickens, approximately 4 - 5 minutes. Stir in the mozzarella cheese and 2 ounces of the Asiago cheese, stir until cheese melts into the sauce. Add in the pasta, asparagus, tomatoes with juices, olives, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, mix to fully combine. Remove from heat, stir in the feta cheese. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

2012 Organic Creamery® recipe contest finalist - entry courtesy of Debbie Reid