Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli
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As far as I'm concerned, you can give me alllllll the homemade mac and cheese recipes and I will happily try them all! variety is the spice of life and with that in mind, I figured why not make an easy variation of my Baked Mac and Cheese recipe?
This is seriously creamy with tender (but not overcooked) broccoli and a deliciously crispy crust with a little bit of crunch. And best of all, the only real work is making the cheese sauce- and even that is super simple!
Tips for making Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- When cooking the pasta, cook it 2 minutes less than the al dente cooking time listed on the package to prevent your cooked macaroni from getting mushy.
- You'll melt butter and add flour to make a roux. Then add milk and whisk until smooth. Keep whisking as it cooks and this will thicken the cheese sauce.
- You'll know the sauce is ready for the cheese because it will coat the back of a spoon. Then you'll turn off the heat, add the shredded cheese and whisk until smooth and the cheese is melted.
- Make sure you cook the sauce over medium heat because the milk will scald if the heat is too high.
- Shredding cheese is the best way to get it to melt nicely, but store bought pre shredded cheese works fine too.
- I wrote this recipe so that it would have a nice, crispy crust on top. But if you'd rather have stretch melted cheese on top, just hold off from adding the cheese and panko topping until 5 minutes before the end of the total cooking time.
What kind of cheese is best for this?
I use sharp cheddar to add an extra zing of flavor!
What is the best pasta for macaroni and cheese?
My preferred pasta is shells but elbow macaroni works great as well.
What size baking dish do you use?
I use an 11" x 7" casserole dish.
Can I use frozen broccoli instead of fresh?
Sure, just skip the blanching step and add it frozen so it doesn't overcook and get mushy.
How do you store mac and cheese?
In an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This can be reheated in the oven or microwave but is best served right away.
Can mac and cheese be frozen?
Yes, I'd encourage you to freeze this before baking. You can freeze it for up to 3 months, well-covered. When you're ready to make it, thaw over night and bake.
Ingredients for Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli
- Shells pasta
- Fresh broccoli
- Whole milk
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Ground nutmeg
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Seasoned panko bread crumbs
Ingredients to prep ahead:
- Cut and blanch broccoli
- Boil shells (as per recipe directions)
- Shred cheese
Broccoli Mac and Cheese recipe
- 2 cups medium shell pasta, cooked 2 minutes less than the al dente cooking time on the package
- 2 cups diced fresh broccoli
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper,
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Pinch ground nutmeg
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided
- ⅓ cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place broccoli into boiling water and cook for 2 minutes before draining and plunging into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- In a medium pot, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add flour and whisk until no lumps remain. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking often.
- Whisk in milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes continuously whisking (to prevent the milk from scalding) until thickened.
- Turn off the heat and add 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Whisk until smooth and the cheese is melted.
- Mix well with cooked pasta and broccoli and pour the pasta mixture into an 11" x 7" baking pan. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheddar cheese and panko bread crumbs.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes and serve immediately.
If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions!
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