My cheesy orecchiette is just the cheesiest! Featuring both American cheese and Colby jack, it is super creamy and is topped with crunchy roasted asparagus!
Disney World: Here we come! The hubs and I are headed down to the most magical place on earth tonight, for a week of delicious food and wine (and of course some roller coasters!) at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! We attended this event two years ago, and had an absolute blast! I can’t wait to write all about it on the blog and to share our favorite food and wine finds with you on Instagram! If you’re a Disney fan (or like… a food and wine fan in general…), be sure to follow along on my Instagram where I’ll be sharing posts and Instagram stories all about the festival!
Today’s recipe was a hubby favorite! (Except, of course, he said “why did you ruin this perfectly cheesy macaroni and cheese with vegetables?) This macaroni and cheese is my new favorite! It’s so versatile because you can make the base of the macaroni and cheese and add whatever protein or veggies you want on top! So it can be like, semi-healthy. -ish. 😉
Related: Pesto Macaroni and Cheese
I love this dish for the fall too because to me, macaroni and cheese screams comfort food. And to make sure your comfort food is top notch, follow these tips:
- Salt your pasta water generously! They say it should taste like the ocean, so don’t be shy. This holds true for basically any pasta dish, because if you don’t salt your water, the pasta will not be infused with seasoning; it will taste bland, even with this delicious sauce on top.
- Whisk in your milk slowly. If you pour in all the milk at once, the roux doesn’t have time to gradually absorb all the liquid into a deliciously creamy sauce. Pour it in slowly and whisk as you pour, which will allow the sauce to become rich and creamy.
- Change up the cheese! This sauce is so adaptable, just keep the same ratio of the amounts of cheeses and add whatever you want! Looking for a white cheese sauce? Use parmesan, white cheddar, or fontina! Looking for an even cheesier version that is Kraft-like or Velveeta-like? Use all American cheese!
Cheesy Orecchiette with Asparagus
- 1 pound orecchiette
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
- 10-12 slices American cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 bunch asparagus sliced into 1" sections
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Bring a large covered pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Arrange asparagus in one layer on a metal sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
To a medium-sized saucepan, add butter and melt over medium heat. Slowly add flour to the melted butter, whisking to incorporate. While continuing to whisk, stream in the milk and allow to come to a boil. Simmer over medium heat until thickened. Add sour cream, dry mustard and cheeses and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Cook asparagus in oven for 8-10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. Turn on the broiler to high heat and broil for an additional 2-4 minutes, watching closely to prevent burning.
While asparagus is cooking, add orecchiette to boiling water and cook until al dente. Strain pasta and return to pot. Add cheese sauce and stir to combine. Serve topped with charred asparagus.