Monday, March 4, 2013

Mushroom Broccoli Alfredo Mac n Cheese

Hello! It's that time of year again when some of us are scrambling to come up with meatless meals that won't bore the family. Fish sandwiches, mac n cheese, tuna  casserole...they've been done to death by now. And there's still almost a month of Fridays left to meatless meal planning! Uh oh.

One of the best things about the Lenten season is that fish and seafood are more plentiful, and therefore more reasonably priced, than other times of year. If you're a fish and seafood lover (and I am!), now is the time to take advantage of the bargains out there, folks. There are always great sales on things that swim during Lent...even at Whole Foods!

How about a little change up that turns the same old mac & cheese into an alfredo-style mushroom and broccoli meatless meal? One that will be a brand new Friday family fave? 

Instead of cheddar, a sauce of smooth, creamy fontina, subtle smoked gouda and a little parmigiana regianno set off with a sweet touch of garlic, LOTS of earthy mushrooms and just a little bright green broccoli. Baked in a gratin dish until the top is golden, just a simple salad and some good bread makes a Meatless Friday (OR Monday!) into a dinner sure to be repeated even when it isn't Lent.

Ready? Go!

Mushroom Broccoli Alfredo Mac n Cheese

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups fontina cheese, shredded - approx. 1/2 lb.
  • 2 cups smoked gouda cheese, shredded - approx. 1/2 lb.
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

  • 1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente, drained - Gluten-free penne to make this GF, my fave is BiAglut!

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced - I like the package of baby bellas, oyster and shitakes!
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets

Mix the cheeses together in a large bowl until well combined. Reserve a cup of the mixed cheeses. In a saucepan, melt 3 T. butter, add the cornstarch and cook for a minute. Gradually whisk the milk into the cornstarch mixture. When the sauce has thickened, gradually add the bowl of grated cheeses, constantly whisking until the sauce is smooth. Set aside.

In a skillet, melt 2 T. butter and add the minced garlic and sliced mushrooms. Stir until the garlic is translucent and the mushrooms are tender. Set aside.

Have the cooked pasta waiting in a large bowl. Pour the cheese sauce over the top, add the mushroom mixture and the broccoli florets. Mix well and pour into a large, buttered gratin dish. Top with the reserved cheeses.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden.

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