This baked mushroom and pepperoni pizza mac & cheese, brings flavors of a mushroom and pepperoni pizza into a casserole dish. The method and proportions are based on a recipe from Ellen Brown’s book “Mac & Cheese.” The flavor combination was developed in the Tribune test kitchen.
Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 1 hour, 15 minutes Makes: 8 servings
1 pound penne pasta, or another short cut
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups whole milk, warmed
8 ounces crumbled goat cheese
8 ounces provolone, grated
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1 pound mushrooms, sliced, sauteed in olive oil
10 ounces pepperoni, in 1/2-inch dice
1 can (14 ounces) cherry tomatoes, drained (juices reserved for another use)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until just beginning to soften; it should not yet be al dente. Drain; return pasta to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; whisk in flour. Cook, whisking, until mixture turns slightly beige, is bubbly and appears to have grown in volume, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium; slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Heat until just beginning to bubble at the edges, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until beginning to thicken, about 5 minutes.
3. Add goat and provolone cheeses by 1/2-cup measures, stirring until cheese melts before adding more. Season with salt to taste. Stir mushrooms, pepperoni, tomatoes and oregano into pasta. Pour sauce over pasta; stir to coat. Transfer to a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.
4. Bake until cheese sauce is bubbly and top begins to brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.