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Stovetop Ratatouille Mac and Cheese

This recipe combines classic summer ratatouille (with zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes) with creamy macaroni and a crunchy breadcrumb topping. 

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Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 medium Japanese eggplant, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, leaves chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry powdered mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 pound macaroni pasta
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

Directions

Prepare ratatouille: Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in large pot and heat over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; sauté until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add zucchini, squash, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes; cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Cook a minute or two longer. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Prepare cheese sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook 1 minute. Slowly add milk, while whisking, until well combined. Cook on low, stirring, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, mustard powder, cayenne and oregano; remove from heat. Add cheeses; stir with wooden spoon until melted.

Combine pasta, cooked vegetables and cheese sauce in large pot. Stir until well combined. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes. Add basil and 1/4 cup fresh parsley and stir well to combine.

For topping: Combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons parsley in small skillet. Cook until toasted, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle topping over hot mac and cheese. Serve immediately.

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Semi-soft and semi-hard cheese, like Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella, should be very cold for easy grating.