I’m currently *swooning* over this mac & cheese.
One of the first recipes I posted on the blog was for mac & cheese, but it was a special kind – Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. It’s a crowd favorite, and one of my all-time favorite ways to cook mac & cheese, but the recipe I have for you today is a bit more traditional. Okay, so I lied. The mac & cheese part is traditional – the cheese sauce is made with buttery roux, milk, cheddar and Gruyere, salt, pepper, cayenne and ground mustard (don’t forget those last 2 – they add amazing depth of flavor to your cheese sauce) mixed with perfectly cooked pasta shells. Yes, you could just stop there because it’s creamy, dreamy and just a little rich – everything you want in a mac & cheese – but I want you to take it to the next level.
I want you to shred some Brussels sprouts, toast them in a hot, oiled pan with some breadcrumbs and salt, and load it up on top of the ooey gooey cheese pasta. And roast it until it’s piping hot, bubbly and the veggie topping is extra crispy. It’s anything but traditional, but it’s out-of-this-world.
This is the way to eat vegetables, you guys. This is seriously it.
Okay so maybe you’ll need more veggies than just what’s in this topping, but it’s a start.
A very, very delicious start.
- 1 Tbsp. oil
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts, shredded
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ tsp. coarse salt
- 1 lb. whole grain cavatappi or large shells
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 4 Tbsp. flour
- 3 ½-4 cups milk
- 1 ¼ tsp. coarse salt
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Pinch dry mustard
- 2 cups shredded Gruyere or gouda cheese
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In large skillet, heat oil to medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until crispy. Add Panko breadcrumbs and toast another minute. Stir in salt. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pot, heat butter to medium high heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking continuously, for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking vigorously until incorporated and smooth. Let simmer 3-4 minutes, whisking frequently, until thickened. Whisk in salt, pepper, cayenne and dry mustard. Remove from heat and whisk in cheeses until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Add cooked pasta and stir until combined. Transfer mac & cheese to the prepared baking dish. Evenly top with crispy Brussels sprouts mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and topping is slightly browned.