For me Mac n’ Cheese is a labour of love. Literally.
I don’t eat the stuff but it is well up there on hubby’s list of All Time Favourite Things to Eat (along with cheesecake and anything involving meat..though not meaty cheesecake because that’s just disgusting) so I make it for him.
The first couple of times I kept it clean.
Gradually though I realised that mac n’ cheese could be an excellent vehicle for incorporating all kinds of veg. Think about it – what doesn’t taste better with cheese?
In fact, the first person to name me a veg that doesn’t taste amazing slathered in a cheese sauce gets $100,000,000*
In this incarnation I’ve gone for two of the best, most nutritious, vegetables ever to hit the supermarket scene – broccoli and kale. They make a great addition to the otherwise stodgy carb loaded casserole and you can rest easy knowing that at least something green as gone into your belly.
*I cannot make good on this offer. If I could, I would be hanging out on a luxury yacht, quaffing champagne with bits of gold in it. Not blogging.
Kale & Broccoli Mac n’ Cheese (serves 6)
- 4 large leaves kale, shredded thinly
- 2 bunches broccoli, cut to florets
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
- 3 cups macaroni pasta
- 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsps butter
- 1 tbsp flour (I used wholewheat but plain white is fine)
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil leaves
- Add the macaroni and broccoli to a saucepan of salted boiling water and boil for 10 minutes until soft.
- While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add a tbsp of flour and stir together with the butter to form a paste. Gradually add the milk, about a tbsp at a time, and whisking constantly to ensure it doesn’t go lumpy. You want your sauce to be thick and creamy but not so thick that it starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it starts to thin add more flour (confession: I was too impatient with my milk and ended up adding 2 more tbsps of flour), if it’s too thick pour in a little milk. That’s really all there is to it. Just ensure you are constantly whisking as it can clump easily.
- When the sauce reaches the desired consistency (should take around 15 minutes of careful watching and whisking), stir in the nutmeg and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Gently fry the onion, kale and garlic in butter over a medium heat for 5 minutes until the kale wilts and the onions turn translucent.
- Pour the macaroni and broccoli into an 8in x 11in casserole dish. Add the kale, onion and garlic and stir until all the ingredients are mixed. Pour in the cheese sauce, stirring again to make sure everything is evenly coated.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheddar, basil, oregano and parmesan on top. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.