There's something wonderfully comforting about macaroni and cheese, isn't there? Especially in the dead of winter when you are looking for excuses not to venture outside your house into the cold.
This mac-n-cheese casserole is everything a mac cheese should be—rich and cheesy—and includes a healthy sprinkling of broccoli florets.
Broccoli has two great loves—cheddar and black pepper—of which this dish takes full advantage. It's like broccoli cheddar soup, but in mac cheese form. Enjoy!
Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese
- 1 bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 3 cups milk (low fat or whole)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups (packed) grated sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces), divided 1 1/2 cups and 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Boil the pasta:
Heat 4 quarts of water with 2 Tbsp salt in a large pot on high heat (for pasta). When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook uncovered at a rolling boil for 2 minutes less than the time given on the pasta package instructions. (You want to cook the pasta al dente because it will continue to cook with the cheese mixture.) Rinse quickly in cold water to stop the cooking, drain and set aside.
Steam the broccoli:
While the pasta water is coming to a boil, steam the broccoli. Put a steamer rack in a pot with an inch of water. Bring to a boil. Add the broccoli florets, sprinkle with a little salt, and cover. Steam for 4 minutes. Then remove the broccoli from the pot to a bowl.
Heat the milk:
In a microwave or in a small pot on the stovetop, heat the milk until steamy. (Preheating the milk saves time in the next step when you are making the bechamel sauce.)
Preheat oven broiler:
Make roux with butter and flour:
Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a thick-bottomed oven-safe pot on medium high heat. When the butter is melted and starts to foam sprinkle with 3 Tbsp of flour. Whisk to combine. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add milk and spices to roux:
Pour in the hot milk and whisk vigorously to combine, breaking up any clumps of flour. Lower the heat to medium low and let cook, whisking frequently, until the sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Stir in the dry mustard, paprika, nutmeg, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Whisk in cheeses:
Whisk in 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar and the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
Stir in broccoli, top with cheese, broil:
Stir in the broccoli and the pasta until well combined. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese on top and place under preheated broiler for 5 to 7 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.
Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks