Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese
I don’t care what the kids are saying, boxed mac is garbage. Yes I used to eat it when I was a kid. No it doesn’t give me feelings of nostalgia for my long lost childhood. It’s gross. When I do, by some wizard’s trickery, end up eating a bowl it gives me a headache and makes me feel like I just ate three pounds of banana slugs.
I made the real thing last night and added a little flair (read: vegetables) for the sake of showing off for someone’s mother.
It’s mac & cheese, everyone loved it.
A couple of notes: Right when the roux was about finished I added a big ol’ glug of Lost Abbey’s Witches Wit because that’s how I roll. The right brown would really add something to this dish, but I had WW. I feel sacrificing any good beer to the caldron appeases the food gods and makes for a more delicious dinner.
Also, I started my roux with the grease from some pancetta as well as the butter. I added the pancetta to the top for gratuitous oohs and aahs.
- 2 medium sized summer squash or zucchini, chopped
- 2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
- 10oz cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 small sweet onion, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Vegetable oil
- 1 pound cavatappi or mezze penne
- 1 quart milk
- 10 tablespoons (1.25 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
- 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 1/2 cups plain Panko bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the
macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Toss chopped squash, pepper and tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes until tender. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 8 tbsp of butter and ½ tbsp. olive oil over medium heat to melt butter. Add the onion and garlic, cook until translucent. Whisk in the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the milk and cook for about 5 minutes until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, salt, pepper, nutmeg, paprika, mustard, and thyme. Add the cooked macaroni, roasted veggies and the fresh spinach, stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the Panko bread crumbs, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
If you look closely you will notice (gasp!) that there is actually no spinach in mine. The farmer’s market was totally out. But I think it really adds color, texture and vitamins (yay) to the whole thing. So don’t leave it out if you can help it.
*Thanks to Leah and Mike for letting me take over their kitchen to make this xo