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What’s Cookin’ Wednesday: Broccoli and cauliflower mac and cheese

by Karen on October 26, 2011

This is one of our favorite go-to comfort food recipes. Who doesn’t love homemade macaroni and cheese? While adding fresh vegetables to the dish doesn’t counteract the butter, cheese, and whole milk, it does add lots of nutrients and flavor, and it’s a great way to sneak some veggies into a picky kid’s diet.

This recipe was originally inspired by a very similar recipe for cauliflower mac and cheese from Real Simple. Tony simplified it a little, and fattened it up for flavor, but you could easily use reduced fat cheese and 1% milk to make it a little healthier.

Broccoli and cauliflower mac and cheese

  • 12 oz. macaroni (or another short tube pasta)
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • A pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 8 ounces of sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs or Panko
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Bring a gallon of water to boil over high heat in a large pot as you cut the cauliflower and broccoli into florets. Generously salt the water once it has reached a boil.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, pour in the flour and stir until it and the butter form a roux (a thick paste). Add the milk slowly, stirring regularly. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Sprinkle in the pinch of nutmeg. Once the liquid has become thick and creamy, lower the heat. Stir in the cheese one handful at a time.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is close to al dente. Add the broccoli and cauliflower to the boiling pasta and stir them all together. Let the vegetables boil with the pasta for two to three minutes, or until the broccoli has turned bright green and the cauliflower has begun to soften. Strain everything into a colander.

Place the pasta and vegetables back into the pot, pour in the cheese sauce, and stir to combine. Add plenty of black pepper. Transfer to a large casserole or baking dish. Top with the bread crumbs, parsley, and Parmesan.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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