Broccoli and White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Mac & cheese. Oh how I love mac & cheese.
It’s one of my favorite foods on the planet (besides chocolate). Whenever it’s cold outside or I need some comfort or I’m hungry or it’s a day that ends in ‘y’, I turn to mac & cheese. I’ve had to impose mac & cheese limits on myself to keep from eating it every day of the week. I love it so much I would run away with mac & cheese and never look back.
Can you believe that until maybe 3 or 4 years ago I’d never cooked anything other than the boxed kind? Believe it. The first time I tried to make bechamel-based mac & cheese, it was a total failure. Clumps everywhere. But I love mac & cheese so much I kept trying, and you know what? It’s not hard. And the homemade stuff tastes way better than the box kind.
Let me be clear: This is stove-top mac & cheese. (Oven baked mac & cheese is dead to me.) It’s a creamy, cheesy mac & cheese with broccoli (to make it healthy) and just the right amount of spicy kick from the pepper jack cheese to warm you from the inside.
It’s perfectly delicious and satisfying comfort food that will solve all your problems and bring about world peace.
OK maybe not that last part, but it’s definitely delicious.
Broccoli & White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Serves 2-4 as a main dish, 4-6 as a side
Buy blocks of cheese and grate it yourself. It makes a world of difference! The pre-shredded stuff just doesn’t melt as smoothly. Plus, the more calories you burn shredding cheese, the more mac & cheese you can eat.
3 cups frozen baby broccoli florets
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/3 cups milk
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
2 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
salt to taste
Microwave broccoli florets in a large, microwave safe bowl according to package instructions until tender (usually 4-5 minutes). Drain off any water and set aside.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add elbow macaroni. Boil according to directions until al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to form a paste (roux). Cook 1-2 minutes to eliminate raw flour taste. Slowly pour in milk, whisking briskly to remove lumps. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly, until milk mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in shredded cheese. Add salt to taste.
Add drained macaroni back to pot. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni, add broccoli, and stir to combine. Devour.