Friday, January 14, 2011

Broccoli Mac n Cheese

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I knew I wanted a really simple and quick, yet satisfying side dish to accompany my Oven BBQ Chicken from yesterday. I came across this particular mac n cheese from Stephanie Cooks, and really liked that it was similar to other Mac n Cheese recipes I've used before and have enjoyed. I have always thought that adding broccoli to mac n cheese would be good, but I just never tried it. I decided to do so on Oven BBQ Chicken night! ComputerMan was less than thrilled that there were vegetables in his mac n cheese; I, however, thoroughly enjoyed it. He always tells me he doesn't like his broccoli cooked. Somehow I always "forget." Oops. One thing I will say about the broccoli, though: don't be a cheapskate like me and get the frozen bag of broccoli "cuts" which has the tops as well as the stem parts. Some of the pieces were just too tough. I'll splurge next time and spend the extra 50 cents to get just the broccoli tops! 

Broccoli Mac n Cheese
Serves: 4-6

2 T butter
2 T flour
2 cups milk
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese (I like medium sharpness)
salt and pepper to taste
10 oz frozen broccoli, defrosted and roughly chopped
8 oz pasta shapes (I used shells, but any short shape would work)
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stovetop. Cook pasta according to package directions. Once the pasta is almost done, throw in the broccoli and allow the water to come back up to a boil. Boil the broccoli and pasta together until the pasta is done and the broccoli is just starting to become tender--you just want to take a bit of the bite off. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook together for a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a boil for 5 minutes until it starts to thicken up. Add in the shredded cheese and melt it, stirring in a figure-8 motion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat. Add in the broccoli and pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to an 11x7 greased baking dish. Top with the grated parmesan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it's bubbly and heated through! Enjoy!


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