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Caprese Mac and Cheese

Caprese Mac and Cheese with Pesto and Parmesan

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We’re saying “yay” to Caprese with tonight’s Italian-style mac and cheese. This ooey, gooey penne bake has four cheeses—shredded mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan stirred into the pesto-laced sauce, and sliced mozzarella blanketed over top. We top with grape tomatoes and torn fresh basil to complete this mac's inspiration. Dinner doesn’t get much better (aka cheesier) than this.

  • Vegetarian
Serving size
2servings
Prep & cook time
minutes
Cooking Skill
easy
  • Calories 1140
  • Protein 47g
  • Total Carb 108g
  • Total Fat 59g

Given the cook-at-home nature of Plated and natural variation in ingredients, nutritional information is approximated. See details.

Ingredients & Equipment

What we send

  • fresh mozzarella
    • 4 ounces
    • fresh mozzarella
  • yellow onion
    • 1
    • yellow onion
  • mini penne
    • 8 ounces
    • mini penne
  • unsalted butter
    • 2 packets
    • unsalted butter
  • flour
    • 2 tablespoons
    • flour
  • milk
    • 8 ounces
    • milk
  • shredded mozzarella and provolone
    • 2 ounces
    • shredded mozzarella and provolone
  • pesto
    • 1/4 cup
    • pesto
  • shaved Parmesan cheese
    • 2 ounces
    • shaved Parmesan cheese
  • basil
    • 1/8 ounce
    • basil
  • grape tomatoes
    • 1/4 pint
    • grape tomatoes
  • aluminum tin
    • 1
    • aluminum tin

What You’ll Need

  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 8" medium pot
  • 10" medium high-sided pan
  • baking sheet

Cooking Steps

  1. Prepare ingredients

    Prepare ingredients

    Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Thinly slice fresh mozzarella. Peel onion and cut into small dice.

  2. Boil penne and sauté onion

    Boil penne and sauté onion

    Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in mini penne and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain and return to pot, off heat. Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy, add onion; sauté, stirring, until softened, 2-3 minutes.

  3. Make cheese sauce

    Make cheese sauce

    Reduce heat under pan to medium and add flour; cook, stirring, until flour is lightly browned, 1 minute. Whisking constantly, add milk and cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Stir in shredded mozzarella and provolone, pesto, half of Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to combine.

  4. Assemble mac and cheese

    Assemble mac and cheese

    Once cooked and drained, add mini penne to pan with cheese sauce, still off heat, and toss to coat. Adding 1 tablespoon at a time, stir in reserved pasta cooking water until sauce is silky and clings to noodles. Reshape aluminum tin, if bent, then pour in mac and cheese and spread in an even layer. Place tin on a baking sheet. Top with sliced mozzarella in a single layer.

  5. Bake mac and cheese

    Bake mac and cheese

    Bake mac and cheese until cheese is melted and bubbling, 14-16 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly tear basil leaves, discarding stems. Quarter grape tomatoes; place in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired and toss to coat.

  6. Plate mac and cheese

    Plate mac and cheese

    Divide Caprese mac and cheese between serving bowls. Top with basil, grape tomatoes, and remaining Parmesan. Dig in!

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