It is my comfort food of choice. If I feel like eating a hug, which I often do after an arduous work day, nothing will satisfy like a bowl of macaroni and cheese. I am constantly experimenting with new combinations of cheeses, and I have shared a few favorites over the years. See Brie Macaroni and Cheese or Truffled Lobster Macaroni and Cheese.
This right here is my attempt to remove some of the guilt from this guilty pleasure by way of roasted vegetables.
For this macaroni and cheese, I chose a sharp, white cheddar for a satisfying bite, and cream cheese for richness.
The combination pairs splendidly with the roasted vegetables, which, joined by bacon, lend a bright, springy vibe to this warm and cozy dish.
You could use any vegetables you have lying about. I went with two of my favorites; sweet, roma tomatoes, and charred broccoli.
The vegetables are roasted until the edges are slightly charred and the bacon is crispy.
As the oven works its magic, we get to work on a cheese sauce.
You know the drill.
Roux + milk + cheeses.
Do not forget to salt and pepper.
Once the vegetables are crisp and the macaroni is swimming in creaminess, we marry the two.
When it comes to weeknights, I love a good one dish wonder.
I would not dare to call this "healthy macaroni and cheese" as that would be undermining the sacred quality of the classic dish.
Like vegan cheese. Oh please, say it ain't so.
However, I will say that this colorful combination is a pretty wonderful way to get your carb fix and vegetable serving all at once.
Wednesdays can pack a punch.
But cheese sauce always wins in the end.
MACARONI & CHEESE WITH SPRING ROASTED VEGETABLES
FOR THE ROASTED VEGETABLES
3 rashers bacon, finely diced
1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
3 roma tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine olive oil, black pepper, and sea salt in a large bowl and add bacon and vegetables; toss to coat.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the vegetables out evenly over the baking sheet. Roast for 30-35 minutes, tossing halfway through.
While the vegetables roast, prepare the macaroni and cheese.
FOR THE MACARONI & CHEESE
1 pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups whole milk, warmed
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces sharp white cheddar, shredded
freshly ground black pepper
Fill a large pot with water and salt liberally. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add macaroni and cook for 10 minutes, until al dente. While the pasta cooks, prepare the cheese sauce.
Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, sprinkle in flour and salt and whisk to form a thick roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the roux is golden in color.
Slowly stream in milk while whisking constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes; until thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese and white cheddar. Season with black pepper.
Drain pasta and pour the macaroni into the cheese sauce, tossing to coat.
Pour the macaroni and cheese into a serving dish and top with roasted vegetables. Serve immediately.