This delicious baked macaroni & cheese with broccoli is a healthy make-over of the classic casserole. With its crunchy golden brown breadcrumb topping and uber-creamy cheese sauce you won’t miss a thing. This is a family weeknight dinner favorite and is ready in just 45 minutes!
- 12 -ounces whole-wheat macaroni, about 3 cups, uncooked
- 1 large broccoli crown, chopped (about 4 cups) or 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
- 2 1/2 cups milk, preferably non-fat, divided
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
- Crumb topping
- 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see ingredient note*)
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- When water boils cook macaroni 4 minutes less than package instructions. Add the raw fresh broccoli if using (the frozen broccoli goes in later if you are using that.) Continue cooking for 2 minutes longer until the pasta is slightly undercooked (the broccoli should be bright green and crisp tender.) Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.
- Meanwhile prepare cheese sauce. Heat 2 cups milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often until steaming hot. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup cold milk, flour, Dijon, 3/4 teaspoon salt and white pepper in a medium bowl until completely smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the steaming milk and bring to a simmer whisking often until smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. If using the frozen thawed broccoli stir it into the cheese sauce.
- Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta. Transfer the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Stir together breadcrumbs, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic powder in a small bowl. Drizzle in olive oil and stir until completely combined. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta and transfer to the oven. Bake until the pasta is bubbling and the topping is golden, 15 to 20 minutes.