Featured Wisconsin Cheeses: Feta, Gruyère
The best recipes, the ones that become part of your repertoire and get passed from generation to generation, are recipes that take you somewhere.
The somewhere might be a place in time: your grandmother’s kitchen, the restaurant where your family ate dinner on Sunday afternoons, a dish you first tasted on your honeymoon or at a favorite restaurant in your neighborhood.
That’s what I was going for here, a macaroni and cheese that takes you somewhere with each bite. In this case, though the ingredients include Japanese bread crumbs and Italian pasta, the combination of Feta cheese, lemon and herbs will transport you to the Greek Isles. It will. I promise.
Shrimp, Lemon, Fresh Herb Mac and Cheese
Serves 6 to 8
13.25 ounces rotini (I use Dreamfields low-carb)
1 pound frozen large shrimp, 31-40 size*
10 ounces Wisconsin Feta Cheese, crumbled and divided
Zest of 2 large lemons, divided
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
4 cups milk (whole or reduced fat)
2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin Gruyère Cheese, grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil; add pasta. Cook for 8 minutes; the pasta should be a bit underdone. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Add the pasta to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove shrimp from the freezer, and set in a bowl of cold water to thaw. Peel and devein the shrimp as soon as they are defrosted enough to handle (but not fully defrosted) and add to the pasta.
In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup Feta, half of the lemon zest, the panko bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons parsley. Mix well and set aside.
To make the sauce, melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until the flour is absorbed by the butter to form a paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the milk and stir vigorously with a wire whisk to remove any lumps. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently with the whisk, for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove pan from heat, and whisk in the Gruyère and remaining Feta Cheese. Whisk until the sauce is smooth; the Gruyère will melt completely and the Feta will be well incorporated. Add the remaining lemon zest, the remaining parsley, dill weed, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the top of the pasta, and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle panko bread crumb mixture over the top.
Place dish in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbling along the edges. Remove from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes, serve hot.
*Shrimp are sold by the number per pound; this recipe calls for 31-40 size, which often are labeled “large” though I think they’re really “medium.” For a delicious vegetarian version of this recipe, omit the shrimp.
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Feta, Gruyère, Macaroni & Cheese, Recipe, Wisconsin Cheese
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