Mac and cheese – one of the best comfort foods around. This recipe is a playful take on macaroni and cheese as well as the classic cheesecake. Although it is a savory entrée, the addition of ricotta and cream cheese add to it the creamy richness you would expect in a cheesecake.
The best part of this dish is its versatility. I made this one using canned diced tomatoes and broccoli, but you could add just about anything you wanted to the dish. I am thinking bacon would be a natural.
Here’s what I did.
8 ounces ricotta
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces cheddar
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
½ pound elbow macaroni
1 can diced tomatoes, strained really well
4 ounces broccoli flowerettes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
½ cup plain bread crumbs
4 tablespoons butter plus additional for greasing springform pan
Lightly grease a springform pan with butter and then line with parchment paper. In a glass bowl, melt the butter by microwaving it and then mix the butter with the breadcrumbs. Press into the bottom of a springform pan and bake at 350° for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile cook elbow macaroni according to package directions varying only the cooking time. Cook the pasta about three or four minutes less than the stated time. Also steam the broccoli for about 5 minutes and set aside. Drain the tomatoes and chop up the basil.
Next, in a food processor, process all the cheeses until fairly smooth. Add in the egg, milk, basil, and sugar and blend until very smooth. Mix together the pasta, tomatoes, broccoli and then incorporate the cheese mixture. Stir well and pour into the springform pan.
Bake at 275° for 45 minutes. Do not open the oven but turn it off and leave the pan in for another 45. Then remove from oven and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice and serve.