Roasted Broccoli Baked Mac and Cheese

Welcome to 2020: a year of uncertainty, unknown, and lack of clarity. This is also a new decade, with new memories to be made, new things to explore, new opportunities, and new experiences. It’s unfortunate what is happening in our world at this time, and while it takes us out of our comfort zones and forces us to isolate, we remember to cherish the time we have with our loved ones, FaceTime with family we can’t get to physically visit, and look for the silver lining: how lucky we are to be alive right now.

I decided to get back to simple and easy meals, some that really only require pantry or already-at-home items because while everyone stocked up on toilet paper, I was hopeful to just make sure I had enough milk, bread, and eggs in my home. I knew I wanted to make something equally delicious and comforting, so I opted for a staple: Macaroni and Cheese. My pantry always has pasta, heavy cream/milk. I had butter and flour, I also remembered I had some cheese in the house, as well as broccoli. To ramp up the fun in the MAC, I roasted broccoli and threw that in the mix too. It’s ok to drool on your screen, I won’t judge ya.

I love making pasta meals with veggies because it’s just a perfect balance of carbs: complex versus simple starch. Broccoli is a house favorite and we more often than not have it on hand at all times. I tossed the broc in some avocado oil, salt, and pepper and threw it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, right at the peak of crispiness, since I knew it would cook more and soften in the oven with the pasta. It added a whole other dimension of salt and savory to this dish that I didn’t realize I needed – this will absolutely become a freezer staple in my house.

Ok, enough narrative, here’s the deal with this recipe:

  • For the MAC:
    • 1 pkg macaroni
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 1/2 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 2-3 cups grated cheese (cheddar: sharp and mild)
  • For the broccoli:
    • 2 cups broccoli florets
    • 2 tbsp avocado oil
    • Salt
    • Pepper
  • Products used:
    • Organic Valley butter, heavy cream, cheese
    • Rao’s macaroni pasta
    • Chosen Foods avocado oil

Toss broccoli in avocado oil (or oil of your choice) and season with salt nd pepper. Bake at 375° for 20m.  Set aside. Boil pasta to al dente (2 minutes less than package).  Strain and set aside. For the cheese sauce, you’ll make a roux, which is flour and butter whisked together. Melt butter and whisk in flour to create a paste.  Add in heavy cream and stock. Bring to a boil then simmer.  Turn off heat and melt in cheese.  Using a oven-safe dish, pour in the drained pasta, then the broccoli, and then pour in the cheese sauce and mix, making sure the broccoli is dispersed evenly and the cheese sauce coats all the noodles.

Sprinkle a little bit more cheese on top and some breadcrumbs (totally optional). Bake for 10 minutes and broil for two to get a nice golden top. Serve and enjoy! PS. There will be leftovers, which is great for working from home 🙂

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