I like to jazz this classic up with a different vegetable every week. It’s a great way to get kids and grown ups alike to eat their veggies! Plus, I add a little handful of Israeli cous cous, the food so nice, they named it twice! The little pearl shaped pasta pieces add a fun and surprising texture to the dish.
Veggies that lend themselves nicely to this veggie dish include broccoli, cauliflower, leeks cooked down to a subtle soft sweetness, chopped zucchini, caramelized onions (Here are some great onion choppers for you!), you get the idea. Experiment with what works for you and your family and have fun with it!
The mustard, nutmeg, and red chili pepper flakes add a surprisingly gourmet edge to this dish, all the while, keeping it kid friendly. The grated Parmesan topping also keeps it a little fancier than your typical bread crumb topping, Try this yummy favorite out tonight!
Baked Gourmet Veggie Macaroni & Cheese
- 3 TB butter
- 3 TB flour
- 3 Cups milk
- 4 oz Israeli cous cous
- 2-3 oz each- spaghettie, farfalle, elbows, shells, dry assorted pastas of your choice to fill up a 4 cup measuring cup– cooked according to package instructions- al dente is preferred because there will be baking time
- 3 Cups of shredded, grated, crumbled assorted cheeses including cheddar, jack, mozzerella, ricotta, swiss, Gruyere, brie, any little odds and ends of cheeses you have in your refrigerator
- 2 Cups steamed broccoli, or cauliflower, summer squash, or any other desired prepared vegetable- medium chop
- 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan to top dish prior to baking
- 2 TB Grey Poupon mustard
- A dash of fresh ground nutmeg
- A dash of red chili pepper flakes
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, careful not to brown
- Add flour, whisking constantly, making a roux
- Do not brown butter and flour mixture!
- Once the butter and flour are incorporated, add milk, continuing to whisk constantly until thickened to a desired nappe (to coat the spoon) consistency, this should take 5-7 minutes, possibly longer
- Once the roux + milk = desired thickness, add cheeses (except for grated Parmesan) and stir until melted, using heat resistant spatula
- Remove from heat
- Add nutmeg, pinch of salt, mustard, black pepper, and chili pepper flakes, stirring to distribute evenly
- Taste cheese sauce and season according to your own taste
- In a buttered baking dish, combine cooked pasta, cheese sauce, and prepared veggies and stir evenly
- Top with grated Parmesan and place in preheated oven
Cook at 375 for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbly
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