This Father’s Day, the menu was planned by the groovy dad in our funny Alaska family. He sheepishly asked for meatloaf and macaroni and cheese, because his wife (my BFF) tries so hard to eat healthy. To balance his request for comfort food and her need for better nutrition, I made my famous mac and cheese with the add-in of broccoli.  (I did make a smaller dish without broccoli, since the man of the day doesn’t like it, so this recipe works with or without veg.) 

Broccoli Mac

Ingredients:

2 boxes of Barilla Plus bow tie/farfalle pasta
3 cups frozen organic broccoli florets
8 tbs unsalted butter
4 tbs flour
4 cups organic 2% milk
2 cups shredded Cheddar Jack blend cheese
1 cup shredded Gouda
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup panko bread crumbs

How I made it:

In a big pot, cook the pasta according to the directions. While it cooks, melt the butter  in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking gently.  Let cook until thickened, then add the milk one cup at a time, whisking constantly. Turn the heat up a bit, and begin adding the cheese 1/2 cup at a time, whisking until melted and smooth before adding more. Add pepper to taste.  Leave it on low heat, whisking gently to keep from sticking, while you finish the other steps.

When the pasta is done, drain it and set it aside.  In a pot of cold water, bring the broccoli just to a boil.  This is a good time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a large casserole dish.

When the broccoli begins to boil, take it from the heat and drain it.  Return the broccoli and pasta to the big pot, and add the cheese sauce. With a large spoon, combine gently to make sure all the bow ties and broccoli are coated with sauce.

Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the casserole dish. Top with the bread crumbs and cover with foil.  Bake for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Makes 10-12 servings.

How it turned out:

It’s not too cheesy, not too saucy.  The broccoli isn’t mushy.  It’s just great.  One caveat: this is great for a large group, but not super as leftovers.  You can halve the recipe for a family of four.

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