Comfort & Joy: Broccoli Mac 'n Cheese


What is your favorite comfort food?

Mine, hands down, is macaroni & cheese.

I rarely make it, because it's so fattening and I can't just have a small portion, so I just look at it longingly on other blogs.

When I was in college, we would come home after a late night of partying and my roommate Maryellen would make up a batch of that strange macaroni & cheese from a box.

That product was new to me, my mother never bought that fake powdered cheese stuff.
We had Stouffer's frozen mac n cheese, and it was reserved for nights when we had a babysitter, so the sitter could just pop it on the oven. I loved the crusty burned cheese on the aluminum baking dish.......I am regressing........let me finish the late night munchie story.

So, Maryellen would make this cheesy stuff from a box and I would add fresh steamed broccoli spears chopped up to it, and we devoured it! It became our Saturday night recipe!

I have no idea why I was thinking about that delicious combo of broccoli with macaroni, but decided to make it (sans the powdered cheese stuff in the pouch!).

It came out terrific. This would be a good way to get broccoli haters (are there still any out there?) to eat the little green trees.

College Dayz Macaroni & Cheese, graduated:

1 head fresh broccoli, cut into small florets, steamed
8 oz. elbows or your favorite dried pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) butter
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups of whole milk
1/4 cup flour
salt & pepper

Steam your broccoli florets or boil them for 4 minutes until nice and green and remove with a slotted spoon, put aside. You can cheat and use the same water to cook your pasta in (hey, you don't have to wait for another pot to boil!).

Cook pasta as per directions and don't be tempted to use the whole box.
Use only 8 oz. of pasta, or the dish won't have enough sauce!

Make your cheese sauce in a heavy saucepan, by adding the butter and flour and whisking until a roux is formed, then gradually whisk in the milk to desired consistency.

Now add your steamed broccoli and cooked macaroni to this mixture, salt and pepper.

Place in a buttered baking dish (you could add buttered bread crumbs or panko to the top if you really want to go crazy), and bake at 375F for about 45 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Best eaten after 11 pm on Saturday night.


Bob said…
Ok, that's just awesome. Putting the broccoli in makes it healthy! :D
Ciao Chow Linda said…
I'd eat that ANY night - it's so yummy looking. Hate to admit it, but my kids used to eat that packaged mac n'cheese all the time when they were little.
Unknown said…
What a GREAT!!! dish with a family favorite, adding broccoli sounds DELICIOUS!!!
kat said…
Oh yeah mac & cheese is my favorite too. My mom made it from scratch growing up as well. It's off our diet menu right now....
Kathy Walker said…
I can now eat macaroni and cheese with a clear conscience because I am eating vegetables too! Love the stuff.
Foodiewife said…
Well, doggonit! I just made cream of broccoli soup on Sunday. Had I seen this, first, I would have made this. This is far better than the blue box stuff. Great job!
Catherine said…
Comfort and joy is right! Yum.
The Food Hunter said…
Broccoli sounds like a good addition to an already delicious dish!
tavolini said…
How about eating it at noon on monday ;)

Looks delicious--I might have to steal this one from you!
Anonymous said…
Stacey - if you don't mind me asking.....did you use a a 13 x 9 baking dish or something smaller?
Stacey Snacks said…
Yes, I did use a 9 x 13 Pyrex glass casserole, but you can use a smaller 8 x 8 pan, it will only be higher and creamier!
Pam said…
Oh Stacey you are killing me! This looks rich, creamy and comforting. Nicely done.
Karen said…
My mom never bought the boxed mac & cheese, but like you, we used to have the frozen Stouffers but only rarely. Even now mac & cheese isn't one of my favorites. Yours looks good with the trees in there and no orangey-powdery stuff added ;)
Penny said…
My favorite in college was the large box of mac and cheese with the packet containing oozy bright cheese. We browned onions and hamburger until almost burned (a mistake the first time, but we liked it that way). This was added to the cooked mac and cheese and it was sooo good. I still occasionally buy the box for my fix. Yours looks so much healthier. Love the Gruyere!
Dana said…
I do love mac and cheese but it's almost too rich for me. I think the broccoli would cut it just a little bit here - plus I love broccoli. Great idea!
Jen_from_NJ said…
Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. I love to eat broccoli on the side but never thought to combine it with the macaroni - great idea! My favorite is the combination of cheddar and gruyere. BTW, I used to love the boxed kind as a kid!
That looks sooo good! I love adding a little bit of nutrition to my mac and cheese too :) And I also was only allowed to have the frozen stuff when we had a babysitter!

Teanna said…
Oh man, that mac and cheese looks like it would be worth the extra fat and calories! It is gorgeous!
Sarah Caron said…
I LOVE broccoli in my mac and cheese. And this one looks just awesome. Mmm. It's been so long since I have made any ...
Even in college you were showing signs of being a future gourmet, throwing in your chopped steamed broccoli!!
pinknest said…
Oooh, I want the crunchy bits!
Yes! Me, too. An Absolute Mac & Cheese addict! And, I "graduated" from the box as well!