As a kid growing up, I loved Mac n Cheese. What kid didn’t? And I still indulge in boxed Mac n Cheese from time to time. But homemade is way better and makes it rather easy to sneak in fresh veggies, like this homemade raw broccoli pesto.
1 pound fusilli pasta, cooked as instructed 1 cup shredded Gruyère ½ cup shredded Cheddar ¾ cup shredded Parmesan 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons flour 2 cups milk ¼ cup bread crumbs 1 stalk of broccoli 3 tablespoons olive oil ½ cup chopped pine nuts 1 tablespoon lemon zest 1 minced garlic clove
Cut off the broccoli florets of 1 broccoli stalk and peel the stalk, cutting the stalk into 1/2″ pieces.
Add broccoli to the food processor and finely chop it, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Lightly fold in 1/2 cup of pine nuts, chopped finely, 1 clove of garlic,minced, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, more if needed.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil along with 1 table spoon of salt. Add 1 pound of fusilli and cook until al dente, about nine minutes for most pastas.
NOTE: FACT: In 1937, Kraft was the first to sell boxed macaroni and cheese, and it became an instant hit. They sold 9 million boxes that year! You can learn more fun facts about mac and cheese here.
Create a roux by warming the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet and adding 2 tablespoons of flour. Whisk well until all of the flour is incorporated.
Slowly add in 2 cups of milk. Once the flour, butter and milk have combined, add 1 cup of shredded Gruyere cheese, 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese .
At this point, the sauce should be fairly thick. If you wish for it to be thicker, bring the cheese sauce to a slight boil and then remove it from the heat. If you want to thin it out a bit, add more milk. But do it sloooowly.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the cooked fusilli with the cheese sauce then transfer it to a baking dish.
Place heaping tablespoons of the broccoli pesto throughout the cheesy pasta.
Top with 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and the remaining shredded cheeses.
NOTE: Oh, I want to add that when I photographed this recipe I did not make enough cheese sauce. Oops! Don’t worry, the recipe below has been adjusted and it is much cheesier than shown.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, until the cheese sauce begins to boil and the topping is golden. Enjoy!
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Jerry James Stone
Food pornographer, full-time vegetarian, pointy beard enthusiast, and I say 'hella' too much. Founder and creator of Cooking Stoned.