Do you love cheese-smothered veggies? And do you dig mac and cheese? Then this creamy, cheesy, veggie-packed mac and cheese recipe is for you. Broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and carrots join up with whole-wheat pasta plus three cheeses for comfort food with a veg-heavy twist. Recipe by Gina Matsoukas of Running to the Kitchen.
2-3medum carrotspeeled and chopped (1 cup)
8ounceswhole wheat rotinior similar shape pasta
1/2teaspoonkosher saltplus more to taste
1/4teaspoonground black pepperplus more to taste
6ouncesgouda cheeseshredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
4ouncessharp cheddar cheeseshredded (about 1 cup)
2ouncesParmesan cheeseshredded (about 1/2 cup)
1-2tablespoonsbreadcrumbs for topping
Red pepper flakes for garnishoptional
Steam the veggies. Fill a large pot with about 1 inch of water.Set a vegetable steamer inside and set over high heat. Place the veggies on the steamer. (If you don't have a vegetable steamer, just place the vegetables directly in the water). Cook, covered, until the vegetables are lightly tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain in a colander. Set aside. You can also steam the veggies in the microwave by adding them to a microwave-safe bowl along with about 1/4 cup of water. Top with a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for about 3 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Be careful when removing the plate - lots of steam will escape!
Make the mac and cheese. (Note: Have all of your cheeses grated and ready at this point!) Place the milk, pasta and seasonings in a medium stock pot (you’ll want a pot with high sides because you’ll be adding everything to this pot later) over medium-low heat.
Stirring often so pasta doesn’t stick, cook until pasta is al dente (time will vary by brand/shape) and milk starts to thicken.
Remove the pot from heat. Slowly sprinkle in the grated cheese, stirring constantly, until melted.
Add the vegetables and stir gently until everything is well combined and coated in the milk and cheese sauce. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired.
Serve. Spoon into bowls and top with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and/or red pepper flakes.
Top individual servings with cooked, chopped bacon.