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MAC AND CHEESE WITH FRESH PEAS, CAULIFLOWER AND TOASTED GARLIC BREADCRUMBS

October 2nd, 2019

Mac & Cheese with Fresh Peas, Cauliflower and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs

You know it’s the start of fall when you start to crave warm comfort food! This mac & cheese recipe is creamy and comes with a few surprising additions—and a crispy garlicky topping. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Chardonnay or Merlot.

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (30ml) all purpose flour
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
1 cup (240ml) half-and-half
1¼ cup (143g) grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup (56g) grated Gruyere cheese
6 cups cooked macaroni (made from 10 ounces/284g dry macaroni)
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) sea salt
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 cups (200g) cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
½ cup (80g) fresh or frozen peas

For the topping:
2 cups (128g) fine dry breadcrumbs (preferably Panko)
½ cup (56g) grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons (10ml) minced garlic
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) sea salt
1 teaspoon (2.5ml) freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C)

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed, saucepan over medium heat, until sizzling. Add the flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Gradually stir in the milk and half-and-half, and continue to stir until the sauce thickens and begins to simmer.

Turn off heat, stir in the grated cheddar and the Gruyere until smooth. Fold in the macaroni and ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) salt. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the cauliflower and cook and stir until lightly browned. Stir in the peas and cook for 2 more minutes.

Mix the cauliflower and peas with the macaroni and spread in a buttered 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish.

To make the topping, mix the breadcrumbs, cheddar cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the macaroni.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Suggested Pairings:
Callaway Vineyard & Winery 2016 Special Selection Chardonnay ~ This light, crisp Chardonnay opens with aromas of leafy pineapple and citrus fruits. The palate is lush with fresh tropical fruits, golden delicious apple with a tangy pineapple finish.

Falkner Winery 2016 Merlot ~ Enjoy the added dimension of black cherry, blueberry, and slight plum flavors with a smooth finish that provides for a delicious wine.

Leoness Cellars 2015 Signature Selection Merlot ~ This wine is bursting with black cherry and blackberry flavors framed by subtle hints of licorice, tobacco and cedar leading the way to a soft, lengthy finish.

Oak Mountain Winery 2018 Chardonnay ~ This chardonnay is lightly oaked with French oak imparting rich flavors of vanilla, butterscotch, creme brulee and caramel.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California.





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