My kids are usually pretty easy going when it comes to food choices, but with so much broccoli being used in this Broccoli Macaroni Cheese I was hoping for no eye rolls or pushback’s. I made this around lunchtime and let them have a taste after I finished shooting it, but I wasn’t expecting to have to cut them off from eating anymore until dinner time! They seriously loved it, I even caught my boy eating it cold from the fridge.
It’s really easy to make and been done a million times on the world wide web, but I think there’s always ways to customize mac and cheese like this Fennel and Chicken Sausage version I made a while ago. I always say to go with strong flavored firm cheese and at least two varieties and up to four for a really deep cheesy macaroni.
Another pet peeve for me is when the sauce to pasta ratio is wonky, I like my mac and cheese super – gooey with that awesome crunchy top from the Panko breadcrumbs.
Keep the bacon big, no teeny crumbles and render it until it’s nice and crispy.
The broccoli is going to be treated the opposite way, a quick dip in the boiling pasta water and it’s done. No mushy broccoli allowed in this family friendly dinner.
When dinner finally came around, my kids killed this.
And we still have some left for lunch tomorrow!
Life can get crazy sometimes but this Broccoli Macaroni Cheese is a dish that you can make the night before and then all you have to do is chuck it in the oven and dinner can be on the table in minutes.
Make this a mac n’ cheese week friends!
Broccoli macaroni Cheese with Bacon
Creamy Macaroni with broccoli, bacon, 2 kinds of grated cheese and topped with buttery rosemary Panko breadcrumbs.
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 pound broccoli, broken into florets
- 8 slices bacon, chopped into large strips
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 7 ounces Gruyere cheese grated
- 7 ounces sharp Irish cheddar grated
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and have ready a 8-10 cup oven-safe casserole dish.
Cook the pasta as per the manufacturers instructions. Do not drain.
Once the pasta has cooked, scoop it out of the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl leaving the pasta water in the pot.
Add 1-2 cups of water to the pot and bring back to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and blanch for two minutes. Drain and set the broccoli to the side.
Cook the chopped bacon in a pan until crispy, Transfer to a paper towel and drain.
In another pan, melt the butter over a medium heat and addd the flour. Whisk to mix together.
Gradually add the milk about 1/4 cup at a time whisking well after each addition until smooth.
Once all of the milk except about 1/2 cup has been added add the cheese and whisk gently over a low heat until melted and lump free.
Add the remaining milk and mix. Turn to low heat.
Add the broccoli and bacon to the cooked pasta along with the cheese sauce.
Toss with a wooden spoon making sure to cover all of the pasta. Pour the pasta into the casserole dish.
In a smaller pan melt the remaining 4 tbsp butter and add the Panko, pepper and rosemary. Mix well and sprinkle over the macaroni.
Place in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes and the cheese is bubbling around the edges.
Serve at once.