Sunday, April 22, 2012

Green Mac-n-Cheese

If you can get past the fact that this mac-n-cheese is, in fact, really is delicious. I made it as a meal but we ended up having the leftovers a couple of days later as a side dish with burgers from the grill, and it was a big hit with our friends :)


*First, cook one pound of shell pasta per directions, but cut a couple of minutes off the cook time so that it is slightly undercooked.*

You will also need about a cup, maybe a little more, of Panko bread crumbs and about 1/2 cup, maybe a little more, of grated Parmesan cheese.

For the Green Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
3 big handfuls of arugula
3 big handfuls of baby spinach
About 10 basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried marjoram 
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

- Put all ingredients in a food processor (a blender may work but a food processor would be easiest/best) and blend until smooth.

For the Cheese Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons truffle oil (this is optional but if you can find the truffle oil I *highly* suggest adding it)
1 onion (small to medium), diced
1 stalk of broccoli, diced
Salt, Black Pepper, & Cayenne Pepper for seasoning
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk, warmed
2 lbs cheese - equal parts provolone, manchego, cheddar, and jack

- Add the onion and broccoli to a pan with the oil, 1 tablespoon of the truffle oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne and cook on medium, for 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute, then add the flour and cook 5 minutes more until the flour begins to brown.

- Whisk in the 4 cups of warm milk, mixing well until it is smooth and hot (a few minutes) and slowly add in 3/4 of the cheese, leaving the rest for the top. When the cheese has all been added and has all melted, add the second tablespoon of truffle oil.

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add the cooked pasta, green sauce, and cheese sauce into a 9 x 13 baking dish and mix well.

- Top with the rest of the shredded cheese, the breadcrumbs, and the grated parmesan.

- Bake for 25 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for about 3 minutes until the top is browned. Let sit 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

The great thing about this recipe is that it's a tasty and different mac-n-cheese dish, but all the veggies in it (the arugula but especially the broccoli and the spinach) make it nice and hearty and therefore meal-worthy. You could even add meat if you insist; I would suggest sausage if that's the case. But it's great without meat as well, promise :)
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