Healthy mac and cheese? This recipe has big flavor with less cheese than most and added broccoli for fiber and nutrients!
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni, shells or other short cut pasta (if desired, use gluten-free or legume pasta)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups small florets of broccoli (2 heads)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or 1 cup cheddar)
- 2 tablespoons grated or shredded Pecorino Romano cheese (don’t omit!*)
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Italian seasoned panko, for serving (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook just until al dente, (about 8 minutes; start tasting a few minutes before your package instructions indicate).
- Cut the broccoli into very small florets. In a large saucepan, add a drizzle of olive oil and heat on medium high. Add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes until tender, then add a splash of water and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook 2 minutes more until bright green and tender. Remove the broccoli from the pan (and wipe it out if necessary).
- In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the flour to create a paste for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk and whisk until smooth. Increase the heat to medium and continue whisking until the sauce starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Stir in the shredded mozzarella, cheddar and Pecorino Romano cheese and continue stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the 1/2 teaspoon salt. (If the sauce is too sticky, you can add 1/4 cup more milk to get a creamier texture.)
- Add the pasta and broccoli to the sauce, stirring to combine, and heat just until the pasta is warmed through. Taste and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. If desired, sprinkle with Italian panko and serve.
*This is the secret flavor maker. Pecorino Romano is an aged cheese similar to Parmesan, but saltier and more savory. If you can’t find it, use Parmesan cheese and a few more pinches of salt.
- Category: Main dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Healthy mac and cheese