I do not have a green thumb. I over water or under water or forget to water and nothing survives. OK, that’s not true – I have one plant that has persevered through a LOT. It’s kind of like a spider plant but it doesn’t get those little spider baby growths. Someone at a previous job gave me some cuttings stuck in a water cup and they grew roots and I stuck them in a planter. That was at least 16 years ago, because I left that particular job in October 2004. It went through countless office moves and temperature settings at my next job, then survived almost a year at home when I was laid off, and then joined me at my new office and then back to home when I started teleworking earlier this year. It’s the kind of plant that you can not water it for a month, it gets kind of limp and pale, and you dump some water on it and it springs right back. It’s perfect for me.
But while I can’t grow things, I really like it when other people do and share the results with me. My dad puts in a garden every year and I’m lucky enough to bring home some of the overflow. This year that has included spinach, rhubarb, onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes. (I have declined the offers for carrots and zucchini. Blech.) One of my favorite things in the world is fried green tomatoes, and at least once every summer there’s a BLT/fried green tomato/fried zucchini feast. But my dad also really, really loves fresh red tomatoes straight from the garden (he’ll just salt one or five and eat them like apples), so he occasionally gets a TEENSY bit stingy with the green ones, not wanting to give them up, but he’s mostly super generous. He mentioned the other day that there were some green ones ready to pick and since it’s been too hot (as in “set an all-time record for the high temperature in all of history on that date” the other day) to even consider heating oil to the frying point and actually FRYING things, I had to look for another way to use them. This was a nice alternative!
Green Tomato Mac
Adapted from The Brewer & The Baker
- 8 ounces penne pasta
- 4 ounces shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (see notes)
- 3 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 ounce shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 8 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce (see notes)
- 2 cups milk
- ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 3 medium green tomatoes, sliced thinly
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta 7-8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a small pan, add the bread crumbs, and stir to coat thoroughly.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and stir in flour. Cook for 3 minutes, whisking continually.
- Stir in the garlic and cook one more minute.
- Stir in the mustard and adobo sauce, then slowly add the milk, whisking continually.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes, whisking occasionally, until it thickens slightly and begins to bubble.
- Add the cheeses and stir until melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat and stir in the pasta until it is coated throughout.
- Spray an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Spoon about half the pasta and sauce into the baking dish and layer slices of the tomatoes on top.
- Repeat with the remaining pasta, sauce, and tomatoes.
- Top with the butter/bread crumb mixture.
- Cook at 350 for 30 minutes; turning on the broiler for the final minute if you like the topping slightly more brown and crunchy.
It’s really good! The base mac and cheese is very similar to the Beecher’s version from a few weeks ago (likely thanks to the adobo sauce) and that was a total winner, so this one started out strong. The green tomatoes add a tangy note that I quite enjoyed.
Like last week, this one takes a little extra prep, so it’s not a quick meal. And baked macs are always a little drier – when I re-heat the leftovers, I’ll add some more milk and/or cheese and see if that smooths it out some. The heat level from the adobo is right at the limit of what I like – it’s good, but one more drop might be too much – hopefully that will also be helped by additional milk.
- The original recipe called for equal parts pasta and cheese – I went a little over on the amount of cheese. That’s never a bad thing in my opinion! It’s very flexible on the type(s) of cheese though, so I went with a combination that seemed like a tasty mix – there’s lots of room for experimenting here.
- The recipe I adapted called for the actual chipotle peppers, minced – as mentioned, my heat tolerance isn’t the highest, so I toned it down by just using the sauce.
Posted August 2, 2020