I have a few strange eating habits. Like dipping McDonald fries into chocolate fudge ice cream sundae. And not taking the last sip of a cup of coffee. I like to uncoil a cinnamon roll before eating it. Another one: I like to make a bowl of macaroni and cheese and broccoli cheddar soup mixed together when I’m at a soup station that serves both (read: Au Bon Pain). I think I just prefer having some pasta in my soup, or perhaps the other way around, having broccoli in my macaroni and cheese. Having something green in my food makes me feel like it’s okay to eat a ton of it. I dare you try it!
I suspected if broccoli cheddar soup were to be transformed into macaroni and cheese, it shouldn’t be too bad. The result was pretty darn tasty. Suspicions confirmed.
Broccoli and Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese
3 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 pound short-cut pasta (I used small shells)
4 tbsps unsalted butter
3 tbsps flour
2½ cups milk
12 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once it comes to boil, add salt and pasta, and cook according to package directions. With 4-5 minutes remaining on the pasta, add the broccoli florets to the pasta water and cook together. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to form a roux. Cook for 2 minutes, and slowly pour the milk into the flour mixture while whisking. Once thoroughly incorporated, let the mixture cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in shredded cheese, cayenne pepper, and dijon mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta and broccoli, and stir to combine.
*I learned that yellow cheddar is just white cheddar with the addition of a natural orange coloring called annatto, so there’s no difference between them in terms of taste and texture. Feel free to use either white or yellow cheddar.
*For a spicy version, substitute 4 ounces of the cheddar cheese with pepper jack cheese.