Brussels Sprout Mac n' Cheese
I feel like mac n’ cheese is one of those dishes that transports you to your childhood, brings you some comfort and reminds you that adulthood isn’t so bad sometimes.
I know the stigma with mac n’ cheese. Either it’s the box kind (aka my childhood comfort food), or the adult gourmet type with all of those fancy cheeses that cost you 35$ just to buy for the purposes of a single meal. And while i’m all about stocking up on fancy cheeses that i can eat on a cheese board later on, i’m no fan of waste and cheese usually goes bad quicker than you can eat it so i created this mac n’ cheese to be a gourmet, adult version of our absolute favorite comfort food without having to buy cheeses you wouldn’t normally use in other dishes. Want to know what cheese is in this particular recipe? Shredded mozzarella and white cheddar. That’s it. When you pare shredded mozzarella, cheddar and a good roux, made out of a fantastic butter the result is something other-worldly. The stringiness of mozzarella remains but becomes micro-stringy (i totally made this phrase up) but what i’m trying to explain is that the mozzarella breaks down and doesn’t remain a large stringy clump that wont stick well to your macaroni, in fact, it takes that stringy consistency that we all love with mozzarella and just breaks down to become stringy from one piece of macaroni to another. It’s sticky and creamy and just heavenly.
The other thing i love about this mac n cheese is that it takes my childhood nemesis (brussels sprouts) and creates this second layer of flavor on the mac n’ cheese that you’ll wonder why you’ve missed it all of these years. It’s so incredibly easy to throw this mac n’ cheese together and it reheats super well.
I wanted to share some tips for making killer mac n’ cheese. Follow these tips and the recipe below and you’ll never make mac n’ cheese any other way again.
Dont throw away the starchy macaroni water after the pasta cooks. It’s the base for our sauce
Layer your flavors. First the roux, followed by your starch water, your cheese, your seasoning, cold water. Just like that.
Dont skip out on the garlic powder. It’s essential here.
Dont you dare over cook that pasta. 5-6 minutes is all it needs. Remember you’re going to cook it again in the cheese sauce after you boil it. You dont want it to become a mushy glob.
Dont over cook your shredded brussels sprouts. You want to keep that textural crunch. It' adds such a unique element. 2 minutes is all it takes to cook the greens.
This recipe calls for shredded brussels sprouts. In order to shred your brussels sprouts without a mandolin, you just lay them down and julienne them until the leafy greens come out like shredded paper. It’s super easy. Check this picture out for reference.
Give this recipe a try! Share your comments and some love. If you make this recipe and share it on social media, tag it with the hashtag #hungrilyhomemaderecipe
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 adult servings
1. 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2. 1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts, shredded
3. 1 tbsp olive oil
4. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
5. 3 tbsp butter
6. 3 tbsp flour
7. 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8. 3/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
9. 1/2 tbsp herb de Provence
10. 2 tsp salt
11. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
12. 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1. Heat a sauté pan with your olive oil and add your shredded brussel sprouts. Cook until the sprouts turn a vibrant green color but remain crunchy. Add your ground black pepper and toss once before removing from the heat. Do not over cook, the texture is what you want. This process will take no more than 2 minutes. Set aside once it’s complete.
2. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously and once it comes to a boil, add your macaroni. boil for 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat while the macaroni is still al dente. Using a large mug, scoop a mug full of the starchy water and set aside. You will need this water for the sauce. Drain the rest of the water and set the macaroni aside to cool.
3. While your macaroni is cooling, prepare your cheese sauce by first adding your butter to the same pot you boiled your macaroni in. Allow the butter to melt. Once it’s melted add your flour. Stir and allow the mixture to clump and begin to brown/toast slightly. You want to ensure the roux has enough time to cook or else your sauce will taste of raw flour. This process will take about 2 minutes. Stir constantly to ensure the roux does not burn.
4. Add your mug full of starchy water into the pot with the roux. Mix well. Add your mozzarella and cheddar cheese to the pot. Stir rigorously to ensure the cheese emulsifies. Allow to cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add your salt, herb de Provence, garlic powder and chili flakes to the sauce. Allow to cook for another 2 minutes.
6. At this point, rinse your strained macaroni and add it to the pot with the cheese sauce. Make sure to stir to coat all of the macaroni. Once you’ve coated all of the macaroni with cheese sauce, add 1 cup of cold water to the pot and mix well. Let the macaroni cook for 15 minutes to absorb the sauce.
7. Remove your macaroni n’ cheese from the stove and place it in a serving dish. Top your mac n’ cheese with the cooked shredded brussels sprouts all over the top. Serve hot and enjoy!