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Pesto Penne and Cheese

Mac and cheese is one of life’s ultimate comfort foods. Cozy up with a plate of this rich and cheesy, Pesto Penne and Cheese to while away whatever worries you may have.

This post does include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in way of advertising fees. Your price does not change, but your purchase indirectly helps keep this show on the road. So thanks!

Pesto Penne and Cheese - Mac and cheese is one of life's ultimate comfort foods. Cozy up with a plate of this rich and cheesy, Pesto Penne and Cheese to while away whatever worries you may have.

I grew up eating mac and cheese from a box. I had read about someone making it from scratch in a children’s novel, but it wasn’t until I was about 16 years old that I ever had homemade. Oh my word.

This was NOT the same thing that I had grown up eating. It was so much richer and cheesier. I was smitten immediately.

I was baby-sitting for the Giordano family; Mrs. Giordano had left a casserole of this mac and cheese that was amazing. I got the recipe from her before I left and an adaptation of that became my Easiest Mac and Cheese. I could make that in my sleep, it’s so easy.

Since then I’ve busted out and experimented with a more traditional Stovetop Mac and Cheese. I’ve tweaked that one into an Alfredo Mac and Cheese.

But I think this one may be my current favorite.

Pesto Penne and Cheese - Mac and cheese is one of life's ultimate comfort foods. Cozy up with a plate of this rich and cheesy, Pesto Penne and Cheese to while away whatever worries you may have.

Loosely based on my Easiest Mac and Cheese, this pasta and cheese casserole takes the old classic to new heights. Rich pesto and intense sun-dried tomatoes take the humble mac-and- cheese casserole and make it something a little more.

If I don’t make my own pesto, I typically buy it in bulk at Costco. It’s got great flavor and it’s a super good price, about $4 for a big jar. Freeze it in smaller portions if you don’t think you’ll use it all. Or do some batch cooking to use it up quickly. This Pesto Penne and Cheese is an awesome use for it.

This casserole, from my first cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook, is freezer-friendly, so if you make it this week, why not make a double (or triple) batch. If you do that enough times in a week or month, you’ll quickly and easily fill your freezer.

Pesto Penne and Cheese - Mac and cheese is one of life's ultimate comfort foods. Cozy up with a plate of this rich and cheesy, Pesto Penne and Cheese to while away whatever worries you may have.

This post does include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in way of advertising fees. Your price does not change, but your purchase indirectly helps keep this show on the road. So thanks!

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Comments

  1. This looks delicious. And I have homemade garlic scape pesto I need to use up or freeze.
    I must for the sake of my sanity and my checkbook start making two batches of things when I cook. Thanks for the nudge:)

  2. Sounds yummy, but you Californians kill me with your Costco offerings and prices. 🙂 I buy the big jar of Kirkland pesto once a month to have on hand for pizzas and quick dinners and it’s at least $7-8 at my store. Still a deal, though. Don’t get me started on the organic offerings not found at my Costco in Maryland.

  3. My goodness–this looks good. I’m wondering if the sun-dried tomatoes you use are plain or soaked in olive oil. I’ve used both but wonder which would be right for this recipe. Thanks!

  4. This was a huge hit at my house for dinner tonight 🙂 Thanks for the great recipe!

  5. Easy and very flavorful! I cut the recipe in half since I was only feeding 2 and now I have leftovers to look forward to tomorrow. I added some chopped chicken also so I increased the cheese/sour cream just a little. With our without mean it would be tasty. I was impressed 🙂

  6. I discovered your recipe not too long ago, and my husband and son will not stop asking for it! (It’s a shame really, because I wish I could eat all of the leftovers.) I love that I can make it in advance — even freeze it — and just throw it in the oven to finish it off. Plus, it’s a great meatless option for dinner. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  7. Donna Reale says:

    I used gluten free noodles to make this recipe as a gluten free option at my daughter’s wedding reception and we went through two pans although we also had three non-gluten free pasta options. Many of our guests said it was their favorite option of the pasta bar! Thank you!

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