Summer Harvest Mac N Cheese & an Announcement!

Is there anything better than the end of summer veg that has been showing up at the farmers market? One of my favorite things to grab right now is mature arugula which has a full-bodied peppery flavor to it that isn’t quite captured with the baby arugula you find at the grocery store. 

This end of summer harvest mac n cheese recipe captures all of the best flavors of summer (sweet, fresh greens) which is combined with the earthy flavors of pre-fall vegetables then it gets swirled together with the rich and creamy flavors of Tillamook’s Sauce Starters (which you can find here) and it makes this mac n cheese recipe hearty enough for an entire meal instead of just a side. 

So outside of the fact that you opened this recipe for the delicious cheesiness that it contains, I know you want to know what the big announcement is… 

Darling Eats is LIVE! 

What is Darling Eats you may ask? 

Darling Eats has been a dream of mine for quite some time to seamlessly show you how to recreate some of the recipes I craft for you on Darling Down South, the blog.

In this Youtube spinoff, a new video will be released every other week showcasing some unique recipes, helpful cooking tips, food recaps from travel as well as educational integrations of my local community of farmers and food providers and how we can use fresh, local ingredients to create delicious meals at home. 

I cannot WAIT to show you what we have in store for this channel! I hope to see you over on YouTube!

But wait- there’s MORE! 


In appreciation of your support, I am hosting a giveaway to give one of you guys this new Kitchenaid Immersion Blender (a $100 value!) for each one of you who subscribe to the new channel!  All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter below with the appropriate information and you’ll be entered to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you want to go see what we have going on so far, the first video is live for you to view! I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I have enjoyed creating it for you!  PS please let me know what you like and what you don’t like. As I work to build this channel out I want to make sure you have the best user experience possible. 


Summer Harvest Mac N Cheese Recipe


This mac n cheese uses the best vegetables from the end of a summer harvest to make a hearty dish that’s loaded with earthy flavor thanks to the peas, arugula, and leeks.
Prep time (in minutes): 30

Total time (in minutes): 45

Yield (how many servings – typically 4-6 servings):

6-8 servings

List of ingredients (US volume measurements):

  • 1 box of penne pasta
  • Salt
  • 1 box of Tillamook 3-cheese sauce starter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • 1 large handful of arugula
  • 1 cup of leeks, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup of Tillamook Mozzarella
  • ¼ cup of fresh breadcrumbs

List of instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and start boiling a heavy bottomed sauce pan filled with water and heavily salted.
  2. Once your water has started to boil, pour in your pasta and cook according to the package directions.
  3. When cooked through, remove from heat and transfer to a collinder making sure to reserve some of the pasta water in a liquid measuring cup if needed.
  4. In the sauce pan, combine your milk and the Tillamook 3-cheese sauce starter and stir continuously until the cheese has melted perfectly into the milk. Add in your leeks, arugula, and peas and give it a quick stir before blending it together with an immersion blender. Use some of the pasta water to thin out the mixture if it gets too thick at this stage.
  5. Once the cheese sauce has turned slightly green, mix in your pasta, sprinkle some Tillamook mozzarella on top, and then lightly dust with the breadcrumb.
  6. Place in oven on the top rack and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumb has browned.
  7. Serve immediately.



     Whenever you cook a pasta dish, always reserve some of the starchy pasta water to thin out whatever sauce you may be adding to it. Because starch leaked out from the pasta cooking, the water that is left over won’t coagulate and sauces you are preparing alongside it for dinner like using regular water would.

Author: Cynthia

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