Okay I know. Its memorial day weekend. Blogs everywhere are exploding with grilled recipes. I have put some out there myself. Its easy to get excited about grilled corn with any kind of grilled meat. I am 95% carnivore, 2% fat, 3% veg. Love me some grilled meat. Anyways, so, this recipe I am dying to share with you though has no meat it in whatsoever. I know. Stay with me. My husband was working late. So there was no one to question my cooking antics (insert evil laugh). But trust me with the incredible flavor, balance of sweet & nutty versus creamy and slightly crunchy - you won't miss it. I imagine crisp bacon, sausage, or some mild white fish would be awesome in this... another time.
Grab these 9 ingredients and lets cook..... Make it a side to your yummy grilled holiday foods. Memorial day is about celebrating some pretty awesome American citizens right? We are former navy. My hubby did 8 years and I super proud of him. So many wonderful people serving and have served our country so well. So eat well and celebrate in their honor. So do the grilled thing this weekend, and add some comfort foods along side like this super delish mac and cheese.
Serves 3- 4 as a main dish
(Guessing if you served it as a side dish would serve 5 or 6)
1/2 box of whole grain rotini (corkscrew looking) pasta (approx 8 oz)
1 Tbs salt + 1 tsp salt (divided)
1/2 tsp pepper
3 Tbs all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of low fat milk (1 or 2%)
4 oz of Vermont sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded or cut into small chunks (half a package for me)
4 oz of nutty Gruyere cheese, shredded or cut into large chunks (also was half of the package)
3 oz or approx 1 1/2 cups of fresh broccoli florets and stem chopped into bite sized pieces
3 Tbs of unsalted butter, organic if you can - you want the good stuff for this
1. Fill a large pot of water for the pasta. Over high heat, heat the water. Add 1 Tbs salt. Once it starts boiling add in the pasta.
2. Grab a small pot and on low start melting your butter. Once the butter is melted. Add in the flour. Over low, still, cook the flour with the butter for 2-3 minutes or so - should resemble a clumpy yellow mess.
3. Cook your pasta as per directions on the box for al dente over medium/high heat. Set the timer for half way though. At the half way point (approx) you are going to add the broccoli in for 2 reasons - to save from having to wash another pot & to make sure you don't over cook your broccoli. Keep the broccoli tender crisp - no more than 5 minutes. No cream of broccoli soup.
4. After the flour is cooked with the butter for a few minutes, add in the milk, salt, and pepper.
5. Stand by the stove now with your whisk. Turn the heat from low to medium on the milk mixture. Whisk the milk into the flour and butter for 3-4 minutes until it thickens. You can tell if its ready if you can dunk a spoon into the sauce, turn the spoon over, use your finger to draw a line in the sauce, and the line stays.
6. Once the milk sauce (bechamel) is nice and thick turn the heat down to low and add in all the cheese. Stir until the cheese melts and the mixture is super creamy.
7. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. (Plus whatever sounds good garlic powder, chili flakes for heat, dry ground mustard, pinch of nutmeg). I kept mine pretty simple since these cheeses were new to me.
8. Before draining the broccoli and pasta, save 1 cup of the starchy cooking water and set it aside.
9. Drain the pasta and veg when the cooking time is done. Return it to the pot and back to the stove.
10. Once the sauce is done pour it over the pasta and broccoli. Stir to combine, slowly adding the reserved cooking water to loosen everything up.
Serve with any fun memorial day or summer foods... watermelon, corn on the cob, burgers, or do this for a meatless main dish. You don't have to wait for the fall for yummy comfort food especially when you use fresh crisp broccoli and whole grain pasta.
Incredibly delish and good for you.
From my kitchen to yours!
Whole Grain Bacon Mac & Cheese
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese