September 4, 2013 by BettyCupcakes
Before anyone thinks I’ve gotten too big for my britches, let me state for the record that I eat boxed macaroni and cheese and love it. I’m no stranger to the blue box or any other kind (right now I’m into Annie’s Homegrown Organic Macaroni and Cheese). There is a time and a place for convenience food and I know it well.
With that said, I’ve spoken of my true and abiding love for casseroles before. There’s something about adding a starch, a protein, a vegetable, and some kind of binder (soup, cheese, etc) to a casserole dish and baking it that is so comforting to me. Plus, I never feel more like a mom than when I serve homemade macaroni and cheese. Just call me June, y’all. Time for dinner,
I had an ulterior motive when making this dish. The wee one has gone on a full scale veggie war. When he was first starting solids, he would happily eat green things- green beans, broccoli, peas, or spinach. Now that he’s a toddler, he’s got all these opinions and has decided that green vegetables are the enemy. If he accidentally puts one in his mouth, he spits it out dramatically and then paws at his mouth to make sure any vegetable remnants are removed. Ridiculous.
I was hoping that if I doused the zucchini in cheese and put it next to his all-time favorite food, pasta, he would chow down. Verdict?
Wee One- 1 Veggies- 0
Macaroni and Cheese with Zucchini
- 2 cups macaroni elbows (I used Barilla Plus)
- 2 medium zucchini, diced into bite sized pieces ~3 cups
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat your oven to 375. Get an 8 x 8 glass casserole dish out and set aside.
- Bring a 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large stock pot. Add the macaroni elbows and boil 5-6 minutes until just tender. Add the zucchini and boil 1-2 minutes more. Drain off water and return elbows and zucchini back to the warm pot.
- While the macaroni is boiling, begin work on your cheese sauce. In a saucepan or deep saute pan, add the olive oil and heat over medium.
- Once the oil is shimmering, but not smoking, add the flour and whisk to combine all of the flour and oil. Cook the flour and oil mixture 1-2 minutes until just barely golden.
- While still whisking, add the milk to the hot flour and oil mixture. Whisk continuously to avoid lumps. Once the sauce begins to bubble and thicken after 2-3 minutes of cooking, reduce heat and add the cheddar cheese. Continue to whisk and cook sauce until cheddar has melted and then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the cheese sauce to the large pot with the macaroni and zucchini. Stir to thoroughly coat all macaroni and zucchini. Pour the cheesy pasta and zucchini into the 8 x 8 square glass baking dish and place into prepared oven. Bake 25-30 minutes until cheese is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
How do you like your macaroni and cheese- boxed or homemade?