Sometimes I need comfort food. Sometimes I need food that is dripping in cheddar cheese. Sometimes I need pasta. I need to eat food that is served in a big bowl that I can curl up with.
The only problem is that sometimes I also need to be in bathing suit condition. As much as I love mac and cheese, it just isn’t an option a week during the summer, when a trip to the pool could happen at a moment’s notice. So I do what I usually do: take the dish I’m craving and beef it up with some whole grains, fresh veggies, and hope it balances out the cheddar cheese.
Although I wouldn’t categorize any of the last 6 months of living in North Carolina as slow paced, the last three weeks have stepped it up just a bit. From flying to Los Angeles for a wedding, to driving down to the coast for a family beach trip, all while receiving a job promotion in between, I’m ready for a few months of a boring, routine schedule. I want to set my alarm to go off at the same time every day, make coffee every morning before heading off to work, and be home at 6:00pm to make dinner. Preferably, dinners that are healthy, satisfying and covered in cheese. In other words: perfect.
Broccoli and Cheddar Whole Wheat Pasta
This dish is broccoli heavy – there’s almost as much broccoli as their is pasta. You can always adjust the ratios, but just think of it as more excuse to pile on the cheese sauce
Serves 2 – 3
1/2 lb dried short whole wheat pasta (penne, rotini, etc)
1 large head of broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Chop the head of broccoli into small florets. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and saute the broccoli until well cooked to desired texture. I like mine still bright green but a little brown on the edges (about 5 minutes). Set the broccoli aside.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once it has fully melted, whisk in the flour. Continue whisking for another minute, or until the flour has cooked through slightly. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer, still whisking. After about 10 minutes, or once the mixture has begun to thicken, add in the cheese and continue to whisk until the cheese fully melts and you have a creamy cheese sauce.
Add in the broccoli and pasta to the saucepan and stir to combine. Serve immediately.