It’s basically mac n’ cheese but with broccoli thrown in. The story behind this dish is that Suzanne and I have posed a challenge to one another to see how many different ways you can prepare elbow macaroni. Why you may ask? Well without going into too many details we’ve found ourselves with over 10lbs of macaroni recently. We’re not planning to go on a pasta binge or anything but at least once a week we’re gonna try to see what else we can make with elbow macaroni. Depending on how successful the dishes are we may post a few more of them.
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp butter or margarine
9 oz elbow macaroni
1/4 cup green onions (or scallions), sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded & divided
2 cups whole milk or half & half
3 tbsp panko bread crumbs
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Steam or microwave the brocoli florets until semi-tender. Don not overcook. Set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt then add the pasta. Cook till al’ dente (or approximately 8 minutes) – You don’t want the pasta too well done because it still has to cook in the oven for a bit near the end. if you overcook it the pasta will be mushy in the end.
4. Drain pasta and set aside. – Do not wash or run water over the pasta. You’ll need the starch left on them to bind everything together.
5. In a small pot on medium heat melt the butter or margarine. Add the flour and mix till combined. Add milk or half & half and mix well with a wire whisk. Cook for approximately 8 – 10 minutes or until it starts to bubble stirring constantly throughout the cooking process. Remove from heat. – It’s important to keep stirring otherwise your milk or half & half might scorch on the bottom.
6. Add 1 cup of cheese and stir until smooth.
7. Combine the broccoli florets, pasta, and sauce in a large pot. Stir until everything is coated. Pour into a glass ungreased casserole dish.
8. In a small dish combine the remaining cheese, bread crumbs, onion powder, and oregano. Top the pasta with the cheese mixture and sprinkle the green onions on top.
9. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until topping gets golden brown.
Alternate: Try different cheeses or combinations for different results. Mozzarella has a very light and subtle flavor so if you’re looking for a bit more bite add Monterey Jack or even Asiago. Cheddar is a great substitute for a more traditional tasting mac n’ cheese flavor.
I’ve aptly dubbed this dish the Meataterian Nightmare because it has many of the dreaded veggies that carnivores can’t stand. I modified the original recipe derived from the vegetarian cookbook 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles. In it was a one titled Winter Vegetables for a Crowd. It’s basically a compilation of hearty vegetables smothered in a cheese sauce and baked off in an oven. Simple and easy. Since we’re in the north now I figured it was a good choice as a side dish for Christmas dinner. Having made it once already I added a few twists to suit my personal taste. This recipe is cool because you can throw virtually any vegetable in there that you like.
|3 cups halved Brussels spouts
3 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups pearl onions (or substitute 2 cups chopped white onions)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, chunk chopped
4 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups shredded Gouda
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
|Note: When cutting up the Brussels sprouts remember to cut off the rather tough end of the stalk. It’ll be easier to cook in the end plus you get rid of the first couple of layers of leaves that tend to be a little on the unsavory side in both taste and appearance.|
2. Cook Brussels sprouts, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots and onions in boiling water until tender – about 10 minutes.
3. Drain vegetables in a colander and pat dry excess water with a paper towel. Note: This is very crucial in getting this dish right. The sprouts and cauliflower retain a lot of water even when left to drip dry so it is essential that you try to get rid of as much water as possible lest you be left with a runny dish in the end.
4. In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter or margarine over medium high heat. Stir in flour till absorbed. Stir in milk and broth; bring to a boil stirring constantly. Stir in Gouda.
5. Mix vegetables and sauce together with a wooden spoon.
6. In a small saucepan, melt remaining butter or margarine over medium heat. Remove from heat; add the bread crumbs and oregano and stir until the butter or margarine is absorbed.
7. Pour creamed vegetables into a large 3 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle mixture over them evenly. Bake for 30 minutes (uncovered) or until topping is browned.
Alternate: Substitute a Cheddar / Mozzarella mix or Swiss instead of Gouda.