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Green Goddess Mac and Cheese Food Gypsy

Green Goddess Mac & Cheese

Swirly rotini pasta in a Monterey Jack cheese sauce chockfull of green veggie goodness with leeks, spinach and broccoli and then smothered in cheese and baked. Green Goddess Mac & Cheese is the mac and cheese you WANT your kids to eat!

Do Your Kids To Eat Their Vegetables?

Is this a problem at your house too? Are there tears at the dinner table? Pouting? The inevitable stalling of the hated greens shuffled to the side of the plate at the end of the meal? If you answered ‘yes’ then we have something in common. (Of course, one of those ‘kids’ in my house is over forty!)

Enter Green Goddess Mac & Cheese, mac and cheese so creamy it cleverly coats suspect vegetables in all the things kids love: velvety cheese sauce which is then buried under a crispy cheese and breadcrumbs gratin crust so they gobble it up!

Broccoli Mac and Cheese, Food Gypsy

Go Green Or Anything In Between.

Broccoli not going to cut it? Swap it out for the more neutral flavour of cauliflower, or trade spinach for peas and beans. Add whatever vegetable you like for added nutrition in a family-friendly side dish to pair with your favourite mains and entrees.

Green Goddess Mac & Cheese also makes a great vegetarian lunch, all on its own.

Is Your Béchamel/White Sauce Gluey & Thick?

Maybe your ratios are a little off on that Mother Sauce? Review some basics with our Classic Béchamel Sauce in 4 Steps tutorial. Nothing like a little coaching to give you confidence in the kitchen.

@thefoodgypsy

Green Goddess Mac & Cheese. Get your greens! #macandcheeserecipe #macandcheese #vegetarian #foryou

♬ Get Rhythm – Johnny Cash

Add Cheese Please

Targeting (ahem) junior palates with this recipe I chose a firm, but neutral cheese: Monterey Jack. It’s a great melting cheese, slightly stringy, without being too overpowering. Choose your cheese to suit your needs; a good cheddar, a nice nutty Gouda, or Gruyere, even a sharp parmesan. Or mix it up with whatever cheese you have in a three or four-cheese sauce. Perfect for the day after a cheese plate extravaganza when there are bits of leftover cheese hanging out in your fridge.

Or change direction with a cheese spiked with jalapenos, chilli flakes or even a smoked cheese for a more adult take on Green Goddess Mac & Cheese.

Because CHEESE is a good thing!

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Broccoli Mac and Cheese, Food Gypsy

Green Goddess Mac & Cheese


  • Author: Cori Horton
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Swirly rotini pasta in a Monterey Jack cheese sauce chockfull of green veggie goodness with leeks, spinach and broccoli and then smothered in cheese and baked. Green Goddess Mac & Cheese is the mac and cheese you WANT your kids to eat!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 cups dried Rotini pasta
  • 12 cups broccoli florettes
  • 1 large package of spinach
  • 12 leeks, well washed, split and sliced
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 cups monetary jack cheese, grated (devided)
  • 13 teaspoons salt
  • 12 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on the box in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Monitor the pasta’s doneness, once it’s almost cooked through, blanche broccoli florets in the same pot, with the pasta until just bright green. Then drain both pasta and broccoli together, rinse under cold water until COMPLETELY COOL & reserve.
  2. Once pasta is cooked, steam spinach in the same pot. Using about an inch of boiling salted water, add spinach, cover with a lid and remove from heat. Let stand for about a minute then drain immediately and cool with cold running water. Once cool, squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible and reserve until needed, then prepare your sauce.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, whisk in four until blended and continue to cook for three or four minutes until your roux is cooked. Add half of your milk and whisk, over medium heat until beginning to thicken, then add the balance of your milk. Reduce heat, and bring to a low simmer for about ten minutes before adding about 2 cups of cheese, a handful at a time, stirring as you go. Finally, add nutmeg and season with salt pepper to taste.
  4. Prepare a 6-cup (9 x 13) baking dish with non-stick spray. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  5. As you finish your sauce, add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil to the same pot you cooked both your pasta and spinach, add well-washed, chopped leeks, season to taste and sautee until transparent.
  6. In a large bowl, mix the pasta with leeks, broccoli and spinach. Add 3/4 of your cheese sauce and fold to coat until desired sauce-to-pasta mixture is achieved. Taste, adjust seasoning if needed, then scoop into the chosen casserole dish for baking. Top with remaining cheese sauce layer, then cheese and finally breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake, uncovered: about 30 minutes or until bubbling in the centre, and hot with a crispy, melted cheese layer on top. Remove from oven, let stand for about 5 minutes then serve piping hot.

Notes

On Bechamel Sauce: In the pro kitchen we work with weights instead of measures so that we can calculate how to make 30 litres of bechamel in a snap. The perfect ratio for a bechamel is 70 grams of butter & 70 grams of flour to each litre of milk. Not cream, milk. I’ve converted it to measures because it’s not likely that you’ll be making 30 litres of the stuff anytime soon. (But you could!)

  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Green Goddess Mac and Cheese, Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.

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