This recipe is a favourite in the Project CHEF kitchens. It tastes so much better than the one from a box, and you’ll recognize all of the ingredients. Bonus: this is also a delicious way to eat broccoli!
Yield: 5 servings
Preparation Time: About 40 minutes
Cooking Time: About 20-25 minutes
- 1 tsp. butter, to grease the baking
- 2 cups elbow macaroni pasta (or
penne, rotini or pasta shape of
- pinch salt, for pasta water
- 1 to 2 cups chopped broccoli
- 1 cup grated sharp (aged) cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. dry mustard
- 2 cups whole milk
- pinch salt and pepper, to season
- extra grated cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top
- 3 Tbsp. breadcrumbs (optional)
- Medium-sized baking dish
- Large pot
- Wooden spoon
- Liquid measuring cup
- Medium-sized pot
- Dinner knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Turn on the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease the baking dish with butter using your fingers to spread it around.
- Fill a large pot ½ full with cold water and add a good pinch of salt. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat on high.
- When the water is boiling, carefully add the pasta and give it a stir with a wooden spoon so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Cook about 6 – 8 minutes, until el dente, firm but cooked through.
- Cut broccoli into bite-sized pieces, including the stem. Add to the pasta water during the last minute of cooking.
- Put a colander into the sink and pour the pasta, broccoli and water into it. Be sure you use oven mitts and ask an adult for help if you feel you need it. Shake out the water.
- While the pasta is boiling, grate the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. The grater is sharp so watch your fingers. Place cheese in 2 piles, one with a larger amount than the other. Set aside for now.
- Measure 2 Tbsp. butter. Put the butter in a medium-sized pot on the stove. Turn the heat on to low. Melt the butter.
- Measure 2 Tbsp. flour and 2 tsp. dry mustard. Mix. Sprinkle the flour and mustard over the melted butter. Stir into a smooth paste with a wooden spoon. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Measure the milk then slowly add the milk to the pot. Add a little at a time and whisk constantly until the mixture is smooth.
- Turn up the heat to medium. Cook the sauce for 6 – 8 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened and is smooth. Try the “line test” to see if the sauce is ready. Give a wooden spoon a swish in the sauce. On the back of a wooden spoon, quickly draw a line across with your finger. If the line holds for a few seconds, the sauce is ready. This is called a béchamel sauce.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Add the larger pile of cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Now you have a cheese sauce.
- Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce and stir until the sauce is mixed in. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Tilt the pot toward the buttered baking dish. Using a spatula, scrape the pasta and broccoli into the dish. It is helpful to have one person hold the pot with oven mitts while another person scrapes the mixture in.
- Spread the mixture evenly then sprinkle the smaller pile of grated cheese on top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
- Place the baking dish in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. The cheese should be melted and the breadcrumbs a little crispy.
- Serve on a plate or in a bowl.
- You can add more flavour to this dish by using different cheeses, such as Fontina and Romano and Gorgonzola.
- You can also jazz up good ol’ mac and cheese by adding a diced tomato and 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves when you mix in the macaroni.
- Another idea is to add ½ cup chopped ham (Italian prosciutto is nice), and 1 cup frozen peas when you mix in the macaroni.
- You can increase the nutrition and fibre by using whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread crumbs.
STEP-BY-STEP – MACARONI & CHEESE!
Melt the butter over low heat, then add the flour and dry mustard. Whisk constantly until a paste forms.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick. If you run your finger through the sauce on the spoon, it should leave a trail.
Pour the mixture into a buttered baking dish. This one is 7×11 inches. Sprinkle bread crumbs and extra grated cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling and lightly toasted.
©ProjectCHEF2020 All rights reserved
Not to be copied or reproduced without express permission from the author