October 31, 2020
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Lions’ Plate: Broccoli Mac n’ Cheese

By Shannon Deady
Columnist

With March Madness in full swing, having a supply of easy, fan-favorite meals and appetizers handy is a must. Since I already shared my buffalo chicken dip recipe during football season, I decided this week’s feature meal would be a homemade mac and cheese. Since this is one of the only recipes neither myself or my family have an authentic recipe for, I asked one of my good friends for her mom’s special version.

Top this dish with bread crumbs for an added crunch (Facebook).

Her mac and cheese, which she usually tops with crackers, is famous for having a surprise vegetable inside, which is usually broccoli. I love this addition because it is a clever way to sneak nutrients into a dish that is otherwise more indulgent choice for both kids and college students. Adding broccoli also adds a touch of color and pairs well with cheese.

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients:

-1 pound cellentani pasta

-3 tablespoons butter

-3 tablespoons flour

-1 tablespoon powdered mustard

4 cups milk

-1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced

-1 bay leaf

-1/2 teaspoon paprika

-12 block sharp cheddar, shredded

-1 block of Gruyere cheese, shredded

-Salt and pepper to taste

-1 cup fresh broccoli finely chopped

Topping (if desired):

-3 tablespoons butter

-1 cup bread crumbs or your choice of crushed crackers

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until its al dente or for two minutes less than the package recommends.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt butter and cook the onion until translucent. Whisk in the flour, mustard and paprika, and keep it moving for about five minutes or until golden brown. Stir in the milk and bay leaf. Simmer for 10 minutes and remove the bay leaf.
  4. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into large casserole dish.
  5. Add in one cup broccoli microwave steamed and chopped fine.
  6. Top with remaining cheese. For topping, melt the butter in a sauté pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

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