Mac And Cheese With Kale Chip Crust

Recipe By:  Kristen Eppich
Mac And Cheese With Kale Chip Crust

Kale chips are the ultimate crispy, crunchy topping to mac and cheese. And this recipe makes extra, so you’ll have more to snack on later.


Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch curly kale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Mac and Cheese

  • 1 lb. dried macaroni
  • 1⁄3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups warm whole milk
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère
  • 2 cups grated aged white cheddar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions Yield:  Serves 6

Make Kale Chips

  1. Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Remove and discard stems from kale, leaving ribs and leaves intact. Rinse leaves then pat dry, removing all water.
  3. Spread kale over lined baking sheets in single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, then rub oil in with hands to coat kale evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake 10 minutes. Rotate sheets and bake 10 to 12 more minutes or until chips are dry, crispy and evenly baked. Remove from oven and reserve. Increase oven heat to 375°F.

 Cook Pasta 

  1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Drop pasta in boiling water and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Scoop 1 cup pasta water into a bowl and set aside. Drain pasta and reserve.

Make Sauce 

  1. To make roux, melt butter in 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. When butter starts to foam, stir in flour and cook until flour starts to have nutty aroma and turns light brown, about 2 minutes.
  2. Gradually whisk in warm milk and reserved 1 cup pasta water. Continue cooking, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat. If sauce is lumpy, pour through a sieve. Stir in cheeses until smooth. Stir in Dijon and cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt and lots of pepper.

Finish And Sever Pasta 

  1. Add cooked noodles to skillet and stir until evenly coated. Transfer to oven and cook 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
  2. Remove from oven. Lay whole kale chips overtop. Reserve extra kale chips for snacks. Serve pasta in skillet, cracking through kale chips to scoop into bowls.

Stacey Brandford
House & Home March 2016