Please, please do not crinkle your nose out there with blue ambivalence. People find all sorts of excuses to not fall in love with a good blue cheese. Even those with the most sophisticated of pallets often tend to shy away from a tangy Roquefort, a nutty Stilton, or a sharp, spicy Gorgonzola. This dish boasts the velvety, creamy bite of Gorgonzola and is balanced out with the coaxed sweetness of slow roasted tomatoes. I used a croissant crouton topping for a little more texture, and believe me, I could have eaten the whole bowl…but reluctantly shared.
While driving home from shopping..err…running some errands, I saw that the Avon Cider Mill happened to have a modest sign of poster board and black sharpie stating: “CONN grown tomatoes here now”. I nearly crashed into the building trying to get off the road in time, and there they were, the fist local tomatoes of the season that I have seen. Of course they are not as sweet as the late summer tomatoes, but with a little slow roasting, the sugars develop beautifully.
This dish is perfect for a date night. I love to serve it in one large bowl with two forks and a nice earthy Pino Noir or Burgundy. It is lovely with a crisp, arugula salad and lemon vinaigrette. This dish is really simple at heart, it still maintains the comfort that mac and cheese has to offer, but adds a little elegance with the touch of Gorgonzola.
Blue cheese mac and cheese with slow roasted tomatoes…
1 ½ cup milk
¼ cup aged cheddar, shredded
½ cup Havarti, shredded
approx 1 tbs Gorgonzola, room temperature
1 tsp mesquite honey
2 tbs butter
1 tbs flour
5-6 small cherry tomatoes
1/4 pound pipe rigate
Start with roasting the tomatoes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half, toss with olive oil and a dash of kosher salt. Place them on a baking sheet and roast for about 1 hour; time will vary depending on the size of the tomatoes. They will look beautifully dried. Cut croissants into 1 inch cubes, toss in olive oil and lightly toast.
Make noodles per directions on the box, cook until al-dente. Make sure to adequately salt the water. While noodles are cooking, you can make the sauce. Begin by making a roux: melting the butter and then adding the flour little by little until combined and thick in the pot. Then, whisk in milk slowly until combined. Once the milk temperature rises, begin adding the shredded cheeses, mixing well. Do not boil. With a wooden spoon, use up and down motions instead of circular, and the cheese will be less likely to clump. Once all the shredded cheeses are mixed in, add the Gorgonzola in pieces. Then add honey.
Mix noodles into the cheese sauce, coat evenly. Move mixture into a medium ovenproof bowl. Crunch croissants over the top, and top with slow roasted tomatoes. Put back into the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to set. Serve warm.
Cook together, share with each other, and enjoy!