Featured Wisconsin Cheeses: Fontina, Aged Cheddar, Mozzarella
If you were to ask me what my ultimate comfort food is, it should not surprise you that it is macaroni and cheese. I think that you would be hard pressed to find anyone that does not feel comforted by this childhood classic. Macaroni and cheese makes you feel better when you are sick, failed a test, or broke up with a boyfriend. Or when you passed your drivers test, got into college, or had the winning touchdown. It is suitable for all emotions. It has comforted me in various stages of my life. I cannot count how many bowls of this problem-solver I have eaten in my lifetime.
Now that I am making macaroni and cheese for my own family, I understand even more so the power of mac and cheese. It is rare that the announcement of mac and cheese for dinner is not met with glee. It makes adults and children alike happy. Sometimes, I keep it plain and simple, other times I add a protein and make it more of a meal. But one of my favorite ways to sneak some vegetables into my babies is to add some broccoli to the pasta right before I drain it. I toss the broccoli and pasta with the velvety cheese sauce and everything gets covered in a blanket of cheesy goodness. Happiness for dinner.
Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound dried pasta
1 pound broccoli florets
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin Aged Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin Fontina Cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) Wisconsin Parmesan Cheese, grated
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. During the last minute of cooking, add broccoli. Drain well; set aside.
Meanwhile, melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, salt, pepper, mustard, cayenne, and nutmeg. Whisk one minute. Whisk in milk and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until sauce thickens and coats back of spoon. Whisk in cheeses. Add Worcestershire sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add pasta and broccoli and toss to coat. Pour into buttered 9×13-inch casserole dish. In small bowl, combine panko, Parmesan and butter. Sprinkle over macaroni and cheese.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly. Garnish with chives and serve.
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