Start with classic cheddar mac and cheese. Add summer vegetables like zucchini, corn, and tomatoes, and fresh basil. Finish with breadcrumbs toasted on the stove. No need to turn your oven on.
It might not be known as the most sophisticated gourmet meal, but we do both love a good mac and cheese. During the colder months, I always finish mac and cheese in the oven, to get crispy cheese on the sides, like in my Swiss Alps Mac and Cheese.
I like to make all different variations on mac and cheese, like adding chicken, steak, or roasted vegetables. In this summery version, I added zucchini, fresh corn, grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, and fresh basil. I kept it stove-top only so you don’t need to turn on the oven. Toasting the breadcrumbs on the stove makes a nice crispy topping.
We’re not technically at the start of summer yet, but I can’t help but get excited for summer produce. Except for the corn, these vegetables are all available year-round. You could use frozen corn, but I like to cook with fresh sweet corn as often as I can while it’s in season.
Of course I used whole wheat pasta. I shared my thoughts on that in this post. But any short-cut pasta you like will work in this recipe.
Here are the main ingredients. That’s a pound of whole wheat shells, ¾ pound of shredded cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, zucchini, red pepper, corn, and basil.
While the pasta was cooking, I sautéed the vegetables.
Later while the sauce was simmering, I toasted the breadcrumbs.
When the sauce was done, I stirred in the cheese.
Next I stirred in the cooked pasta and veggies.
Wait until right before serving to top with the breadcrumbs (especially if you are eating leftovers). You want those toasted breadcrumbs to stay crispy and provide a nice texture contrast.