This dish is the epitome of spring, with its bounty of vegetables and fresh herbs. The goat cheese contributes to the liveliness of the dish, and the Gruyere ties it all together with its legendary melting qualities and nutty flavor. Make sure that you buy sugar snap peas, not snow peas. Then again, if you accidentally get the snow peas, just use 'em. They'll be good too!


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces whole-grain rotini pasta (or use fusilli)
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped spring onion (about 2 large onions; or use 1 small yellow or white onion)
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas (no need to defrost if frozen)
  • 6 medium asparagus spears, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed if necessary, halved crosswise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, plus sprigs for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole or reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 10 ounces Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 6 ounces fresh goat cheese, cut or pinched into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg


Fill a 4- to 5-quart pot about three-quarters full with water and add 1 tablespoon of the salt. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook, stirring once or twice, until tender but firm, about 4 minutes, and drain. Reserve the pot.

In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook just until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and tender. Add the tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.

Using the same pot you used to cook the pasta, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and stir constantly until a paste forms, 30 to 45 seconds. Continue stirring for 1 to 2 minutes more, until the mixture starts to darken slightly and smell a bit nutty. Slowly whisk in the milk, cream, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook until the mixture starts to thicken and is just beginning to bubble around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Add the cheeses, mustard powder, cayenne, and nutmeg. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth but not too runny. It should be similar in texture to cake batter. If it's soupy, continue cooking until it thickens.

Add the pasta and vegetables and stir to combine. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with a little black pepper. Garnish with the tarragon sprigs and serve.

Artichoke hearts (quartered): Saute 1/2 cup frozen thawed or canned and drained with the other vegetables, and/or Ham: Cut a 4-ounce piece of smoked ham into 1/2-inch cubes and add it along with the pasta and vegetables to the cheese sauce.

Serves 6

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Submitted 5/6/14.
Source: Mac & Cheese, Please!: 50 Super Cheesy Recipes by Laura Werlin
Submitted By: b smith

Spring Vegetable and Whole-Grain Mac & Cheese