Lighter Broc-Mac & Cheese
What makes great macaroni and cheese? It’s the creamy, tangy sauce, right? Well surprise, everything we associate with lots of cheese is actually more about flavor and creamy texture. With one surprise ingredient, we get it all and can cut back on half the cheese without anyone noticing. That ingredient? Buttermilk. It’s extra tangy and gives the cheese sauce a bit of oomph without the fat. Don’t believe it? Buttermilk powder is often used in those neon orange “mac n’ cheeze” powders as well as ranch dressing to give them a little bit of extra pucker. It’s all natural, naturally low fat, and lasts when chilled to use in lots of other recipes like biscuits, scones and chocolate cakes. Give buttermilk a try.
As for the broccoli . . . once you start adding extra vegetables to replace half the pasta in your pasta dishes, it’s hard to stop. These go beautifully together.
TIP: Alternatively you can add the broccoli to the last 5 minutes of boiling the orecchiette. We recommend steaming, as below, to retain more nutrients, and a slightly more intense flavor.
Serves 4 – 6
1 large bunch broccoli, florets chopped, stems peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
Steam chopped broccoli in 2 inches salted water, over medium high heat, covered until just tender.
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Orecchiette / Pasta
8 ounces orecchiette
1/2 teaspoon salt
Boil orecchiette/pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain all but 1/2 cup pasta water.
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Preheat Oven to 375
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4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup whole milk
6 ounces semi-hard cheese (gouda, cheddar, Monterey Jack all work well)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
In large, oven-safe skillet, melt butter and immediately add flour, heat over medium heat just until mixture bubbles, but not browned.
Add buttermilk and milk, stir with wooden spoon or whisk until smooth and thickened, add cheese(s)
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the broccoli and orecchiette to the cheese mixture and mix together.
Bake at 375 degrees until bubbling and browned.