This is a macaroni and cheese that’s not too heavy and benefits mightily from the use of whole-wheat pasta and the addition of broccoli. You can assemble it ahead and bake it when you need it, or bake it ahead and reheat. There are a number of excellent whole wheat macaroni products on the market now. Check out Community Grains and MagNoodles. When you cook the macaroni, be sure to cook it for less time than usual so that it is more al dente; otherwise it will become too soft and may fall apart when you bake it in the final casserole.
tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for oiling dish
pound whole grain macaroni shells, elbows, penne, or fusilli
large broccoli crown, broken into small florets (about 3/4 pound)
tablespoons finely chopped shallot
tablespoons flour, sifted
cups milk (1 percent, 2 percent or whole, to taste)
Salt and white or black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
ounces Gruyère, grated (1 cup tightly packed)
ounce freshly grated Parmesan (1/4 cup tightly packed)
Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)
395 calories; 18 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 40 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 8 grams sugars; 18 grams protein; 36 milligrams cholesterol; 586 milligrams sodium
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Add macaroni and cook al dente, a minute short of however long you typically cook pasta if you were serving it right away. Use a skimmer or strainer to lift macaroni from cooking water and transfer it to a large bowl. Toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil and set aside.
- Add broccoli to boiling water and boil 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain, and then drain again on paper towels or a kitchen towel.
- To make béchamel, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until smooth and bubbling, but not browned. It should have the texture of wet sand. Whisk in milk all at once and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Turn heat to very low and simmer, whisking often and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 15 minutes, until sauce has thickened and lost its raw flour taste. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Remove from heat.
- Strain béchamel while hot into the bowl with the pasta. Add cheeses and broccoli and stir together until pasta is nicely coated with sauce. Scrape into prepared baking dish.
- Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until bubbly and the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- You can make a béchamel up to a day ahead and keep in the refrigerator. If you lay a sheet of plastic or wax paper directly on the top, there is less chance that a skin will form. Reheat the béchamel before using, whisking vigorously. The casserole can be assembled one or two days ahead, and the baked casserole will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator and can be reheated in a medium oven.
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