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Meatball Mac and Cheese

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 2 tsps olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 15 mini frozen turkey meatballs or Gardein Meatless Meatballs

For the mac and cheese:

  • 375 grams elbow pasta
  • 6 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsps all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk, warmed
  • 1/2 cup cream, warmed
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded havarti or monterey jack cheese

For the cruncy topping

  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well. Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil, stir and set aside.
  • In an 11-inch ovenproof skillet, add the remaining oil , butter and turkey or meatless meatballs. Sprinkle with 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme. Warm and brown meatballs on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.¬†
  • In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream until slightly thickened, about 3 - 4 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed.¬†Remove from the heat.
  • Add 2 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Add the pasta and meatballs to cheese mixture and stir to coat. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar and the Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Stir together panko, melted butter, sage and remaining thyme. Sprinkle over pasta.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until pasta is bubbling and cheese has melted and become lightly browned. Let sit for 10 minutes on a wire rack to cool. Serve