All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. ~John Gunther

Sunday, March 20, 2011

baked mac and cheese with broccoli

I got a sweet mac and cheese cookbook in December, and I finally made a recipe from it tonight! the book is: Macaroni & Cheese by Marlena Spieler.

As usual I made some modifications. I ended up using all 4 burners at a time and a lot of pots and pans to get this one done. It's not actually that simple, but super worth it. Her recipe is called "Yankee Doodle Dandy Baked Macaroni & Cheese" and I took a tip from the bottom and did a broccoli addition.

Here's the basics:

Under cooked one box (12 oz) shell pasta and set aside. It's find if it cools off.

Grate a buttload of cheese. I went with 14 ounces of Grafton Cheddar, 6 ounces of Cabot Monterey Jack, 3 ounces of crumbled chevre (the recipe calls for blue cheese crumbles, but I'm not a blue cheese fan, so I went this route instead) and half a cup of parmesan (I bought the grated kind cause I was lazy.

also cut up a head of broccoli into little florets. bowl water and cook the florets for about 2-3 minutes and then drain. they should be bright green. set aside.

in a pan melt 3 tablespoons of butter and saute half an onion and 2 cloves of garlic (all chopped) for a few minutes (they don't need to be super cooked, just good and aromatic.)

Then split the cheese into two bowls. 3 ounces of cheddar, 3 ounces of jack and 2 tablespoons of parm in one bowl. All the rest of the cheese in the other bowl (this bowl with a ton of cheese, including all the goat cheese, goes in the sauce).

Now you have to make bechamel. Heat 3 cups of milk (I used 2%, but whole is also good. But no skim. It needs fat!) until they are hot (but not boiling). in a separate large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter, when it is melted sprinkle 3 tablespoons of flour into it. mix and let cook for 1-2 minutes and don't burn it!!! then add the hot milk to the butter flour sitch. Add a bay leaf. cook while stirring for about 7 minutes so it starts to thicken. Don't boil though! use a whisk to stir/delumpify.

take the bechamel off heat. stir in 1 tablespoon of dry mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, a sprinkle of salt, and a liberal amount of cracked pepper. take out the bay leaf Now add the big bowl of cheese to the bechamel and stir. Now add the garlic/onion/butter mixture, stir that in too.

melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same pan you already did the garlic/onions in. add 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs and combine with the butter over heat.

Now you can put it together! It's kind of like a lasagna. The recipe calls for a 1.5 qt pan (basically a loaf pan) which I think is way too small. I went with a 3 qt casserole and that fit perfectly.

sprinkle some of the cheese from your reserve bowl on the bottom of the casserole. then add 1/3 of the pasta. Then add 1/3 of the cheese sauce. then add some broccoli. then add more pasta, then more sauce. Repeat. I only had enough broccoli for 2 layers. I made the top layer broccoli though, and then on top of the top broccoli layer I sprinkled the rest of my reserve cheese, and then topped it all with the buttery breadcrumbs.

Put it in the oven at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes. We served it with kale salad and rolls. good combo.

here's a look in reverse:

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