Palate-pleasing broccoli cheddar Mac and cheese!
Updated: Dec 31, 2018
It’s perhaps the king of comfort foods, the dominant dish of America, and a favorite of all ages all over the country: Macaroni and cheese. Golden and gooey, baked and hearty, this sideline staple or main dish can be served up any number of ways.
1 pound dry shell pasta
(I used small shells, but you could use macaroni, or any shape of pasta) 1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 3 tablespoons flour 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock 1 cup milk, warmed 2 1/2 cups freshly-grated sharp cheddar cheese 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste 1/4 teaspoon finely-ground black pepper, or more to taste 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (optional topping for the baked version) 1/2 cup extra shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cook pasta al dente in a large stockpot of generously-salted water, according to package instructions. About 2-3 minutes before the pasta reaches al dente, add in the broccoli florets and let them cook alongside the pasta for the remainder of the cooking time. Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, as the pasta water is heating, melt butter in a (separate) medium saute pan over medium-high heat.
4.Add garlic and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring occasionally.
5. Whisk in the flour until combined and cook for an additional 1 minute, whisking occasionally.
6.Slowly whisk in vegetable or chicken stock until the mixture is smooth. Then slowly whisk in the milk until it is combined. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture comes to a simmer.
7.Then remove from heat, and stir in the cheddar, Parmesan, salt and pepper until the cheese sauce is smooth. Remove from heat.
8. At this point, you can either serve the pasta stove-top style as is or pour the pasta into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with extra cheddar cheese and Panko breadcrumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top becomes slightly crispy and the breadcrumbs are slightly golden.
Remove and serve immediately. And Enjoy!