Greens Mac and Cheese
It’s hard for us to resist a bubbling, carb-laden pan of mac and cheese, but since we always strive for balance, we’re trading in the classic for Jamie Oliver’s greens mac and cheese from his new cookbook, Ultimate Veg. It’s packed with spinach and broccolini (you know, for health) but still feels just decadent enough.
Bonus: It’s family-friendly and totally customizable. “Swap spinach out for any kind of exciting fresh or frozen greens,” Oliver writes. “I also sometimes add bread crumbs to the top for bonus crunch. Tasty!”
Tasty indeed. We’re making this tonight.
Excerpted from Ultimate Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone by Jamie Oliver. Copyright © 2019 by Jamie Oliver. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by David Loftus.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek—trimmed, halved, washed and sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
14 ounces broccolini, stalks sliced and florets reserved
½ bunch fresh thyme (½ ounce), leaves stripped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
16 ounces dried macaroni
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated and divided
3½ ounces baby spinach
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1¾ ounces slivered almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the leek, garlic, broccolini stalks and thyme, and cook until softened, stirring regularly, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the flour, followed slowly by the milk, then simmer until thickened, stirring regularly, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just shy of al dente, then drain.
2. Add the Parmesan and most of the cheddar to the sauce, and mix well. Carefully transfer to a blender, add the spinach and blend until smooth (you may need to work in batches). Return the sauce to the Dutch oven. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the pasta and broccolini florets, loosening with a splash of milk, if needed. Transfer to a 14-by-10-inch baking dish, top with the remaining cheddar and sprinkle with the almonds. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling.