Because macaroni and cheese is so popular at our house, I am always looking for a new version. I was flipping through some of the old issues of Everyday Food and came across this Mediterranean Mac & Cheese. Knowing my love for mac and cheese and my LOVE for Greek flavors, this was a must try!
To make this a more complete meal, I added chicken that wasn’t called for in the recipe. It was an easy and wonderful addition! I just grilled it on the George Foreman grill with a little Greek seasoning and then chopped it into cubes and added it when I added the tomato and olive mixture.
I thought that the final product was absolutely delicious! However, I will make a disclaimer and tell you that it wasn’t loved by everyone at my table. My husband, who isn’t always as enthusiastic about Greek flavors as I am, wasn’t a huge fan. He said it was way to “olivey”! So I will tell you that if you don’t like olives this may not be the dish for you. Especially since the kalamata olives have such a strong distinct flavor.
MEDITERRANEAN MAC & CHEESE
1/4 cup BUTTER, plus more for baking dish
1 can (14.5 ounces) PETITE DICED TOMATOES, drained
1/3 cup pitted KALAMATA OLIVES, chopped
1/2 teaspoon DRIED OREGANO
8 ounces ELBOW MACARONI
1 GARLIC CLOVE, minced
1/4 cup ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
2 cups WHOLE MILK
8 ounces FETA, crumbled
1-2 GRILLED CHICKEN BREASTS, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a large pot of salted water to boil and butter an 8-inch square baking dish. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, and oregano.
Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions; drain pasta and return to pot. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens, 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in 4 ounces feta. Stir in tomato mixture (and chicken). Season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture over pasta; stir to combine.