We always love a good Mac-n-Cheese at our house. I’m a Wisconsin girl by heart and love cheese, and will cook with it at any given opportunity. It’s so much fun to swap out different kinds of chesses, veggies and meat.
We’ve made this one before and it’s a great base recipe. I’ll have to admit though that I don’t always follow the measured ingredients exactly. I like my cheese sauce pretty thick, so I only add as much stock and milk as I need to make it as thick as I like. I’ve found that if you add it all in at once then your sauce is too thin. It’s always much easier to make it thinner if it’s too thick, than to try to thicken up a cheese sauce.
Another good side note …. we use Fiesta dishes. We have found that one cereal bowl full of dry macaroni is just enough pasta for the two of us in a meal … plus a little extra for snacking.
**This recipe comes from Rachael Ray 365 – No Repeats. Most of the recipes are directly from the book, but some I do change out ingredients a bit for things my family prefers. I’ll add my own comments in with a **.
What do you need?
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi (corkscrew-shaped pasta)
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets (Fresh if available, frozen if not in season)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) (Once around the pan)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 cups whole milk
1 cup chicken stock or broth
3 cups grated sharp yellow Cheddar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to season the cooking water, then add the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes more or until the pasta is cooked al dente and the florets are just tender. Drain well and return to the pot.
While the pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add the EVOO and heat with the butter until it melts. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to sweat them out and turn the juices sweet. Raise the heat a bit, then whisk in the four, cayenne, and paprika. Whisk together until the roux bubbles up, then cook for 1 minute more.
Whisk in the milk and stock and raise the heat a bit higher to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Once it bubbles, drop the heat back to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. **I whisk in about half of my liquids to see how thick it becomes, then keep adding in more until my sauce is the perfect thickness. **
Add the cheese to the thickened sauce and stir to melt it, a minute or so. Stir in the mustard and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour over the broccoli and cooked pasta and toss to combine. Adjust the seasonings, transfer to a large platter, and serve.
How did yours turn out??
Until the next time…
~The girl behind the lama