Finally, a non-Indian dish on the blog after a long time! I am still not accustomed to writing about anything else as promptly as I do with my Indian recipes. It takes me a bit of time, and I have to look for the source of that recipe so I could tally it up. So whenever I don’t find enough time to do that “extensive” research, I simply post any of my Indian recipes from the draft. Easy and quick! Honestly, my superb organisational skills don’t make it easier for me to do all that easily since I don’t keep the source and related content saved in a separate folder like I really should do.
After battering myself like the 10th odd time the same day, lets move forward to the recipe of today. Macaroni Cheese with broccoli. Now, I have never seen a single person in my life who doesn’t like Macaroni cheese. Everyone who likes pasta or cheese with even a slight interest, love this dish. Its such a comfort meal for winters and adorable treat for kids.
Having said that – do you remember that episode from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. where Joey gets a role in a series named Mac n cheese. That was the first time I ever got to know about this dish and I tried it at a coffee shop. Loved it since then! And Joey too 😉
Coming back to the actual food, I may not be a mama just yet, but I do know how stubborn little ones can be about getting their veggies! After all, I was one of them. Sure, I’d force down some kind of green for dinner every night – and sometimes, it’s still a struggle! Especially when its broccoli on the menu. I don’t really like it that much but still include it in the diet at least once every fortnight considering how nutritious this veggie is.
If there was a way to make the classic cheesy broccoli side even more appealing to both adults and kids, THIS is it. Just boil your pasta and broccoli all in the same pot, make a quick cheese sauce, toss it all into a casserole dish, and bake until bubbly. A quick broil gives a nice golden crust that gives way to molten, gooey mac. It’s pretty much heaven! Each satisfying portion is loaded with broccoli florets, whole-wheat pasta and reduced-fat cheddar cheese. You can savour the taste and still get your veggies in to boot! All good, eh!
What you need?
- About 2 cups of whole wheat pasta
- 1 ½ tbsp butter
- ¼ cup minced onion
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups low fat milk
- 1 cup vegetable broth (stock)
- 2 cups sharp cheddar
- 1 cup fresh broccoli florets – chopped small, rinsed thoroughly
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- ¼ cup bread crumbs ( I used homemade brown bread crumbs)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning (contains – dried parsley, oregano and basil)
How to make?
Cook pasta and broccoli together in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions for al dente (or slightly under cook 2 minutes).
Brush olive oil on a baking dish. Preheat oven to 180°
In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter. Add onion and cook over low heat about 2 minutes, add flour and cook another minute, or until the flour is golden and well combined.
Add milk and vegetables stock and whisk, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil; cook about 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper as per your taste.
In the meanwhile, mix breadcrumbs with the seasoning and keep aside.
Once the sauce is thick, remove from heat, add cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked macaroni and broccoli and mix well. Pour into prepared baking dish. Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little cooking spray on top if you wish, to give that extra crunch.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes to get the breadcrumbs golden.
This dish freezes very well! Just cover the assembled, unbaked mixture with foil and place in your freezer. Reheat from frozen, covered, in a preheated 180 degree C oven for 20-30 minutes.
You can toss some more veggies like spinach, kale, mushrooms etc. into the mac ‘n cheese to make it a hearty, delicious full meal
If you wish to make it even lighter, use low fat variety of all dairy products like milk, parmesan and cheddar. I have used the normal variety since I am not cutting down on my fat content.
Replace whole wheat pasta with the usual one if you like your dish more slippery and smooth. Whole wheat pasta tends to get more earthy and mashed up rather than smooth when baked.
Another one of my favourite Pasta mix with veggies is this
Its Vegan, no fuss and ready under 30 minutes