If you follow me on The Instagram, you know that I recently took a trip to Paris. And one of my favorite things that I experienced during my trip to the city of lights?! CHEESE! I loved tasting and learning about new-to-me cheeses. Last week right when I arrived back in LA, I was lucky enough to get an amazing package of an entire gigantic cheese wheel. What a gift! This Summer Veggie Macaroni and Cheese was immeditely in order!
Emmi was kind enough to send me an entire cheese wheel of their Kaltbach Cave-Aged Le Crémeux cheese. I had never been gifted a cheese wheel before! And felt a bit overwhelmed as to what to do with it. Of course, the first thing to do was to try it! I rolled up my sleeves and sliced off a piece. This cheese is SO good.
What Does Cave-Aged Cheese Mean?
Cave-aged means just that: aged in a deep, cool cave in the Alpine Valley of Switzerland. Kaltbach is a 22 million-year-old natural sandstone labyrinth that ages cheese like no where in the world. Honestly I wish I could see this labryrinth because it sounds magical and beautiful.
The literal translation for Kaltbach means “cold river.” There is an actual river near this cave, which means that the air is humid, giving the cheese texture and flavor development like no other.
I find this so interesting and am interested to know if they age other things in this cave like wine or…I dunno…mainly wine lol.
While the cheese wheels age, the cave masters take special care of the wheel of cheese and brush them with a special cave wash so the nuances penetrate the cheese. Very special!
Because the cheese is so special, I wanted it to be the star of this dish and boy is it! There is no other cheese in this macaroni and cheese and there doesn’t need to be. It’s paired with summer grilled vegetables that I gave a bit of char. I included zucchini, squash and red bell peppers.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese is Glorious Because of the Crunch!
The top has some crunch thanks to the bread crumbs but you could leave it out if you like. It’s a super simple and easy macaroni and cheese that you can share with your friends and family. It’s a good potluck or bbq side dish because it’s easy to transport.
I took the leftover cheese and wrapped it up in pieces of parchment and gave it to everyone I knew! Of course, I saved a big wedge for myself because I see a summer-y cheese plate in my near future. If you make this Summer Veggie Macaroni and Cheese, lemme know!
And if you’d like to find Kaltbach cheeses near you, click here.
Summer Veggie Macaroni and Cheese
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- Kosher salt
- 1 yellow squash trimmed and sliced
- 1 zucchini trimmed and sliced
- 1 red bell pepper trimmed and sliced
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil (such as avocado, vegetable or grapeseed)
- Kosher salt
- Pinch crushed red pepper
Macaroni and Cheese:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound pasta of choice (I used cavatappi)
- 2 cups Emmi Kaltbach Le Crémeux cheese divided
To Make the Buttery Bread Crumbs:
- To a small saucepan, set over medium heat, melt the butter. When melted, add the breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt. Mix until the bread crumbs are thoroughly coated. Set aside.
To Grill the Veggies:
- Preheat your grill or grill pan over medium heat. In a medium bowl, toss the veggies, oil, a few pinches of salt and red crushed pepper. Place the slices of veggies on the grill or pre-heated grill pan. Cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened slightly. Remove from the grill (or grill pan) and slice up and set aside.
To Make the Macaroni + Cheese:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- To a medium pot, set over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour and mix it together and cook the flour butter mixture for about 1 minute. Pour in the milk, stirring continuously in between additions. Cook until it thickens up, about 2 to 3 minutes. It’ll start to bubble up and thicken. Give it a good whisk and be sure to get in those corners of the pan to get any floury bits up and mixed in. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the salt, mustard powder, garlic powder and crushed red pepper and a few rounds of black pepper. Give it a taste and adjust the salt to taste. Add 1 ½ cups grated Kaltbach cheese and mix it in until melted. Cover the pot with a lid and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package’s instructions, about 9 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and then immediately add it to the pot with the cheesy sauce. Mix until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a 9 x 11-inch baking dish (or one that is comparable), layering in the grilled veggies. Smooth it into an even layer and then top it with the reserved bread crumbs.
- Transfer it to the oven to bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is lightly golden brown.
For more Macaroni and Cheese recipes, here are a few!
(This post is sponsored by Emmi. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)