Basil & Blue Mini Mac & Cheese

If you've learned anything about me over the past few years through my blog posts you'll know that I have a serious love for cheese. You could almost say that cheese was my first love, although I don't know whether my love for cheese started before kindergarten or not. Yes, I even had crushes starting from the age of 6 but I'm almost certain that while I had doe eyes for an adorable classmate I also had a bag full of string cheese given to me by Mom. Whichever came first you should know that my love for cheese is now a lot stronger, like whey stronger. I love all kinds of cheeses from Brie to Goat to Cheddar to Mozzarella and everything in between. I especially love those from France but I should say that until very recently the kosher cheese game was lacking. Now we have a bevy of options to choose from and not just those tasteless sticks or grated "Parmesan" in the plastic containers. My favorite all kosher supermarket has practically a whole aisle full of the stinky stuff, including the cheese I use in this recipe.

Not too long ago I discovered this brand of kosher cheese that was making the most innovative flavors. Sincerely Brigitte is making kinds of cheese that I've never even seen in the non-kosher market. I mean seriously funky flavors like Chipotle, Wasabi and the one I used in this recipe, Blue Marble. When I saw this Blue Marble Cheese I knew almost immediately what I would be doing with it. As a huge Mac & Cheese fan I wanted to make miniature mac & cheeses with an extra cheesy top hat. When my younger sister saw the cheese she almost fainted. It was kind of like when I roasted a whole fish a few weeks ago. She makes a big fuss about how grossed out she is and then, in practically the same breath, she's inhaling the thing.

If you're hesitant to try this Blue Marble cheese, my recipe is a great place to start...because what's less scary than a Miniature Mac & Cheese?! Let's get cooking!




Basil & Blue Mini Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:
1 lb. Macaroni Pasta
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, plus additional if needed
2 Tbsp. Flour
2 Cups Milk
1 tsp. White Pepper
1 tsp. Fresh Cracked Salt
2 Packages of Sincerely Brigitte Blue Marble Cheese Slices, divided
2 Tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Cup Panko Crumbs

Directions:
Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil. 
Once boiling add in macaroni and cook until they are al dente, or about 2 minutes under done. 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
In a separate smaller sized pot, heat up the Butter until it becomes foamy. 
If butter starts to deepen in color too quickly add in a half tablespoon more to keep from burning. 


Once butter is foamy, add in the Flour and whisk well to get rid of any clumps, about 3 minutes. Next, add the Milk and keep on a medium high heat until the bechamel sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.



In the meantime, season sauce with White Pepper and Freshly Cracked Salt. 
Once the sauce is ready, crumble in 1 package of Sincerely Brigitte Blue Marble Cheddar Cheese Slices. Your bechamel (fancy for white sauce, usually with cheese) will turn a beautiful yellow/orange color and be pleasantly funky smelling. 



Drain your pasta but reserve about 1 cup of cooking liquid. Prepare 8-10 ramekins by spraying with non-stick spray or giving them a thin coating of butter. 
Combine Pasta with the lovely, cheesy Blue Marble Bechamel Sauce we've made and the Fresh Basil. 



Spoon the macaroni into ramekins. Top with 2-3 teaspoons of the reserved cooking liquid.



 Next, top with a teaspoon or so of Panko crumbs. 



Lastly top each ramekin with one slice of Blue Marble Cheese. 



Bake for about 25-30 minutes until tops are fully melted. 


Enjoy!

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