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Skillet Macaroni and Broccoli and Mushrooms and Cheese

You know what happens if you don't get around to serving this for lunch until almost 3pm? Those that you're feeding will smell lunch finishing off in the oven and say hopefully, "Wow...that smells really good." And then when you set it out on the table, they'll say hungrily, "Ooh...that looks yummy." After a few contented bites, my boyfriend B declared this comfort food perfect for a dreary rainy day. Made me smile because I had found the recipe in a New York Times blog post called "Vegetarian Comfort Food at Thanksgiving." That's right, this hearty vegetarian dish is filling enough to please even the carnivores at the table (handy for potlucks).

I was looking forward to serving this up in my cast-iron skillet but mine wasn't big enough to hold everything so I transferred things to a square baking dish. I just shredded the cheddar cheese instead of grating it. Is it even possible to grate cheddar? I only used 2 cups of milk instead of 3. I didn't have an pasta shaped like shells so I used cellentani instead. And I think I boiled the broccoli for more like 2-3 minutes instead of just 1. I think that's all the changes I had to make.

It's another dreary rainy day today. I'm tempted to make this again but I think I might try making the mixture with even less milk (if any) and then pouring it onto pizza rounds instead of mixing it in with pasta. Try making this pasta dish. It's satisfying even if you don't wait until you're really really hungry first!

small preview image of the finished dish in the baking pan

Skillet Macaroni and Broccoli and Mushrooms and Cheese
(Adapted from Real Food Has Curves)

4 ounces grated Cheddar [used shredded cheddar]
2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
6 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups low-fat or fat-free milk [I used 2 cups]
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced tarragon leaves or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces dried whole-wheat pasta shells (not the large ones for stuffing), cooked and drained according to the package instructions
4 cups small broccoli florets, cooked in boiling water for 1 minute (broccoli can be added to the pasta during the last minute of cooking, then drained with the pasta in a colander)

  1. Mix the Cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a medium bowl. Set aside.

  2. Melt the butter in a large, high-sided, oven-safe skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid and it comes to a simmer, and then reduces by about two-thirds, about 5 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables in the skillet. Stir well to coat.

  5. Whisk in the milk in a steady, thin stream until creamy. Then whisk in the mustard, tarragon, salt and pepper. Continue whisking until the mixture starts to bubble and the liquid thickens, about 3 minutes.

  6. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in three-quarters of the mixed cheeses until smooth. Then stir in the cooked pasta and broccoli.

  7. Preheat the broiler after setting the rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Meanwhile, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the ingredients in the skillet. Set the skillet on the rack and broil until light browned and bubbling, about 5 minutes. (If your skillet has a plastic or wooden handle, make sure it sticks outside the oven, out from under the broiler, so the handle doesn’t melt.) Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before dishing up.

Yield: Makes six side-dish servings.

close-up of the finished dish with lots of broccoli and mushroom showing in the photo

Original Recipe: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/vegetarian-comfort-food-at-thanksgiving/
Thread in vegrecipes: http://community.livejournal.com/vegrecipes/1697435.html

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I'm officially starving now... looks amazing!

Thanks. I have that reaction a lot too when I'm looking at recipes.

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Late lunch/early dinner is linner or dunch but I don't care much for either term really.

Oh...looks like some restaurants even try to attract people for that 3-5pm time slot.

Edited at 2010-11-09 03:53 am (UTC)

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Sure! I'm always happy to hear that someone tried out any of the recipes I posted.

That looks AWESOME! I have to make this!

I use a bit of different recipe, but I always put broccoli in my mac and cheese. :D

What else do you add in yours? I never would've thought to add broccoli to mac and cheese. I'm glad I saw a recipe :)

I make a bechamel and add cheddar and jack cheese, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, black peppers, and salt (which is all pretty standard) and then combine blanched broccoli and pasta.

hrm...I think I still have a bottle of Worcestershire sauce I haven't used in a long time. Maybe I'll try adding that next time I make this. Thanks!

<adds mushrooms and broccoli to her shopping list>

That looks delish.

AngelVixen :-)

*grin* Let me know what you think of it after you've tried it :)

I will even write it up!

AngelVixen :-)

It's Mandarin Chinese for "really good eats!"

Ah, it's pinyeen.
I could have translated it in Chinese.

alas...my written Chinese is even worse than my spoken Chinese. I have to go to a website, type in pinyin, and then copy/paste the resulting Chinese characters if I want to type Chinese. :P

I thought I was full... until I looked at these photos

would you ever use béchamel sauce in this recipe?

imaginarycircus mentioned above that she makes something similar with a béchamel sauce. This recipe seems like it has parts of that sauce with the milk and flour and some butter but not as much as a béchamel sauce usually uses I suppose.

I get hungry looking at recipes all the time!

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