24 June 2015

Gemelli and Chèvre With Cherry Tomatoes and Kale

What a snazzy name for a recipe ... but really, it's just macaroni & cheese with numerous twists !

For a mac & cheese freak like me, this book is akin to the Dead Sea scrolls, a lost play by Shakespeare, an eighth Harry Potter book ... get my drift? Thus far I have made a killer fettuccine with crab and blue cheese, cauliflower and gruyere macaroni gratin, and Grand Padano with fusilli and sun-dried tomato pesto. I'm telling you ... this book makes macaroni and cheese into high food art ... but that's there for you in the title, right?

This latest mac & cheese fix is loaded with wilted kale, cherry tomatoes that have been pressed to get the water content out, plenty of lemon zest and lemon juice, chèvre and Colby-Jack cheeses, and dill, yes, dill. There is so much going on with the flavor of this bowl of pasta! Amazingly good! Here's how I made it ... and yes, I changed the recipe up a bit from the original. Want the original? Buy the book !

Gemelli and Chèvre with Additions


8 oz. dry gemelli, cooked to al dente
1 1/2 c. halved cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
6 c. ribboned kale leaves, washed and stalks removed
3 tbsp. dill fronds, chopped
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 oz. fresh chèvre cheese, crumbled
8 oz. Colby-Jack cheese, thinly sliced
2 1/2 c. milk
2 tbsp. butter
2 1/2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper

Making the Dish:

1. While the pasta is heating up, halve the tomatoes and place them on a paper towel-lined plate, cut side down. Place paper towels over them and then weight them with a heavy pot. Leave them to be pressed for about 15 minutes. 

2. Prepare the kale leaves and place them in a large frypan with about 1 tbsp. olive oil. Steam them until they are just wilted. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and whisk to make a roux. Add some of the milk and stir to thicken. Add the rest of the milk and the cheeses, salt and white pepper, stirring to make a smooth, yet relatively loose cheese sauce. Cover the pot and set it aside.

4. Boil the gemelli until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Turn the kale into the pasta and toss to distribute. 

5. Toss in the pressed tomatoes, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and dill, tossing to distribute.

6. Reheat the cheese sauce a bit and pour over the pasta, tossing gently.

7. Spoon the mix into bowls and garnish with a bit more chopped dill. 

Makes enough for three hungry folk to have with a side salad.


  1. That dish looks so delicious...in spite of the kale. I'm not a big fan of that green veg, even though so many people are. (I guess I like being different.) However, I can see this dish tasting great with spinach instead! Can't wait to try it.

  2. oh god this looks so creamy and delicious. I love M&C even if it's wrapped up in a fancy name!


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