{ Mac & Cheese with Tomatoes, Artichokes & Capers }

 

Who doesn’t love a big bowl of comforting mac and cheese?! My husband has informed me that this is his favorite meal I’ve ever made (not sure how it ranks with his all-time favorite Spicy Rice Balls) so we shall call this “Husband Pleasing Mac & Cheese!”

My family has a tradition of picking out our Christmas tree at Eastern Market downtown Detroit while we are all in town for Thanksgiving. This past year, I ordered mac and cheese from this food truck, and I have been craving it ever since! This is my attempt at recreating their recipe with artichokes and capers. I also was inspired by this Pioneer Woman recipe.

{ ingredients }

  • Rigatoni, 1 box (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 4 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 heaping tsp. (heaping) dry mustard (more if desired)
  • 1 pound (4 cups) cheese, grated (cheese of your choice – I use 2 cups sharp cheddar, 1 cup aged white cheddar and 1 cup gruyere)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt, (I used Lawry’s)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. adobe chili powder
  • 1 1/2 15 oz. cans of artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup capers (more if desired)
  • Additional salt & pepper

{ directions }

  1. Cook the pasta as directed on box until it’s cooked but still firm.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg.
  3. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat (to make the roux). Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  4. Pour in milk and mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs (temper the egg). Whisk together till smooth.
  6. Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
  7. Add in cheese and stir to melt.
  8. Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt, seasoning salt and spices. Add more to taste.
  9. Pour in drained, cooked pasta and stir to combine. Stir in artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and capers.
  10. At this point, you can serve immediately OR pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
  11. Enjoy! Yum!

Makes 8 servings. (464 Calories per Serving)

{Tips & Add-Ins}

  • Play with spices to find your preference. Additional add-ins to try: smoked paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper, more mustard, siracha etc.
  • Find your favorite cheeses! You can use all the same or a combination of cheddar, gruyere, smoke gouda, fontina, parmesan, etc.

{ Keep Cooking in Love & Light }

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