This mac and cheese has the flavor of lasagna but is lighter and fresher tasting, thanks to green garlic and fresh herbs.
Sue learned this trick of puréeing Cottage Cheese in your blender first, by itself, until smooth. Then pour in the milk and Crème Fraîche. This is so easy it's hard to believe how good it makes a mac and cheese. - Sue Conley & Peggy Smith (Cowgirl Creamery Founders)
Serves 6 to 8
8 ounces Cottage Cheese
8 ounces Crème Fraîche
8 ounces whole milk
1 pound penne
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (or substitute strained, canned tomatoes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced spring onions
1 cup diced green garlic (or substitute leeks or your favorite allium)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound grated ends and bits of cheese, like Wagon Wheel or Parmigiano
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- While the water heats, purée the Cottage Cheese in a blender on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour in the Crème Fraîche and milk and blend just until combined. Set the mixture aside.
- When the water boils, add the penne. Don't overcook it; drain the pasta when it's just al dente. Spoon the cooked pasta into a 14-inch round baking dish or a 13-by-9-inch, and toss with the butter. Set the pan of pasta aside.
- Pour the chopped tomatoes into a strainer and set aside to drain. You don't need to reserve the juice.
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Add the spring onions and green garlic and cook just until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the drained tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are soft and there's not much juice in the pan, about 8 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, parsley, chives, and salt; stir and then transfer the tomato-herb mixture into the pan with the buttered pasta. Stir the grated cheese into the Cottage Cheese-milk mixture, then pour into the pan and stir again. Stir in half of the grated cheese and pat the pasta smooth with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake until the top is browned and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Looking for our fresh cheeses? Ask your local cheesemonger or stop in our Pt Reyes Shop, check out Imperfect Foods for delivery in the Bay Area, or look out for all of our cheeses in select Whole Foods Markets.