Summer has definitely come to an end in Melbourne and the week has started off cold, windy and wet. I love this sort of weather. It means that I can cook comfort food…stews, roasts, curry and….pasta.
I am a great lover of pasta (I have a secret desire to be adopted by an Italian family) and this Jalapeño Mac ‘n’ Cheese is extremely popular in our house. By replacing some of the macaroni with broccoli, the dish feels lighter while still retaining its comfort food status. The jalapeños were something I added fairly recently and they work really well with this dish giving it a level of heat that is great for these colder nights.
Broccoli Jalapeno Mac ‘n’ Cheese
1 cup of macaroni shells
head of broccoli
2 tablespoons flour (seasoned well with salt and pepper)
chopped Jalapeños (I use the Old El Paso sliced Jalapeños)
splash of chicken stock or verjuice (optional)
1 cup of cheese
1. Preheat oven to 180 c.
2. Bring a pot of water to boil, add a good pinch of salt (pasta water should be as salty as the Mediterranean) and cook the macaroni elbows according to packet instructions. When cooked, drain and add to a greased baking dish.
3. Cut the head of broccoli into florets and add to a greased baking dish
4. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter on low heat. When frothy add the flour and, using a whisk mix well. Cook out the flour for a few minutes and then add then gradually add milk whisking the entire time. Allow the sauce to thicken slightly before adding the cheese and chopped jalapenos. Thicken the sauce little more and pour over the pasta and broccoli (TIP: if you wanted to you can add some spinach at this stage) then sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown.