California Avocado-Studded Mac ‘n Cheese
Ingredients8 oz. unsalted butter 6 oz. all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups) 3 quarts milk 2 Tbsp. salt 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper 1 1/2 lb. Pesto Jack cheese, shredded 8 oz. dried tomatoes (packed in oil), drained and chopped 1/4 cup chopped parsley 2 lb. 4 ounces dry elbow macaroni 6 California Avocados, diced (6 lbs.)
- To make cheese sauce, melt butter; stir in flour.
- Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.
- Whisk in milk; simmer over medium-low heat; stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in salt and cayenne pepper.
- Stir in cheese until it melts and is completely incorporated.
- Stir in tomato and parsley; reserve.
- Cook pasta in salted, boiling water until almost done. Drain well.
- Fold cheese sauce into macaroni; gently fold in avocado.
- Pour mixture into buttered 12 x 20 x 2-inch pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F until lightly browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
- NOTE: To bake individual servings, put approximately 1 1/3 cups pasta mixture in each of 24 buttered gratinee dishes. Bake at 350 degrees F until lightly browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Editor’s Note: Jack cheese (often called Monterey Jack Cheese) can be substituted for the Pesto Jack Cheese.
*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.
As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados