Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Macaroni & cheese is a classic, comforting side dish. Whether it's bakedsaucy or full of bacon and ranch goodness, it's pretty hard to beat that winning combination of pasta and cheese. I love mac & cheese, but I refuse to buy "the blue box" whenever the craving hits. 

As delicious as mac & cheese is, it isn't the healthiest dish. So, this version incorporates some broccoli, which adds fiber and makes this dish ALMOST like a casserole. In the time it takes to boil the noodles and broccoli, you'll make a quick roux and creamy béchamel/Mornay sauce (Béchamel = a roux of flour and butter cooked in milk, Mornay = béchamel but with cheese). Sounds fancy, but it's super easy - just watch your heat and stir frequently - I use a flat whisk!

This mac & cheese is light and creamy, not heavy and cheesy. Feel free to eat it on it's own (just skip the baking part), or baked with a crusty bread crumb topping - also, feel free to double this recipe if necessary. I only wanted to make enough for a few side dish servings, so I halved the original recipe. 

Broccoli Mac & Cheese
adapted from White on Rice Couple

1 8oz package elbow macaroni
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 small onion or 1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 8oz block sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup shredded/grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Cook the macaroni in boiling water until al dente; about 3 minutes before the pasta is ready, add the broccoli. Drain the broccoli and pasta. 

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion or shallot and cook until soft. 

Add the flour and stir quickly to create a roux. Add the milk and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, stirring to prevent burning. 

Remove from heat and add the cheddar & Parmesan. Add the drained pasta and broccoli to the cheese mixture and fold gently to combine. 

Transfer to a greased 9" baking dish. Top with the bread crumbs and any additional cheese (if desired). 

Bake in a 375° oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Enjoy! 

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