macaroni & cheese with broccoli
All of this bad news/ extreme weather has got me thinking about the importance of a well stocked pantry and freezer. All winter, Pete’s has been hooking us up with frozen goodies like frozen corn and peppers, tomato puree and squash puree. We even got some strawberries in yesterday’s share. For those of us who are committed to eating healthfully, frozen produce is super helpful. By the end of the week, or if you’re snowed in with an empty produce bin, having frozen vegetables handy can mean the difference between a healthy home-cooked meal and fat-laden take-out. And don’t worry about the nutrition end of it. Did you know that frozen vegetables can actually be more nutritious than fresh? This happens in some cases because they are picked and frozen at the peak of their nutrition.
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
- 12 -ounces whole-wheat macaroni, about 3 cups, uncooked
- 1 large broccoli crown, chopped (about 4 cups) or 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
- 2 1/2 cups milk, preferably non-fat, divided
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
- Crumb topping
- 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see ingredient note*)
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- When water boils cook macaroni 4 minutes less than package instructions. Add the raw fresh broccoli if using (the frozen broccoli goes in later if you are using that.) Continue cooking for 2 minutes longer until the pasta is slightly undercooked (the broccoli should be bright green and crisp tender.) Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.
- Meanwhile prepare cheese sauce. Heat 2 cups milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often until steaming hot. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup cold milk, flour, Dijon, 3/4 teaspoon salt and white pepper in a medium bowl until completely smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the steaming milk and bring to a simmer whisking often until smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. If using the frozen thawed broccoli stir it into the cheese sauce.
- Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta. Transfer the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Stir together breadcrumbs, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic powder in a small bowl. Drizzle in olive oil and stir until completely combined. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta and transfer to the oven. Bake until the pasta is bubbling and the topping is golden, 15 to 20 minutes.