Yes, it can be done! You can get all the goodness of homemade mac and cheese, and not as many calories. Though it’s certainly not a diet food, this recipe for macaroni and cheese sure takes the calories and fat down a notch or two.
Lighter, But Still Delicious, Mac & Cheese
- Coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper
- 1/2 Pound short, tubular pasta, like macaroni, cavatappi, or penne
- 2 Cups broccoli, cut in florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Small yellow onion, minced
- 1/2 Teaspoon ground mustard
- 5 Tablespoons flour
- 5 Ounces Neufchatel cheese
- 3 Cups 1% milk
- 1 1/4 Cups grated extra-sharp cheddar
- 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
- 1/4 Cup toasted panko
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta in boiling salted water. Three minutes before the package says it is done, add broccoli. Continue cooking for 3 minutes. Drain pasta and broccoli.
2. While you’re cooking the pasta, heat oil over medium-high in a large pan. Stir in onion, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and mustard. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in flour and cooking for an additional 1 minute, stirring the entire time. Add 1 tablespoon of Neufchatel cheese at a time, continuing to stir, until the cheese incorporates fully. Whisk in milk gradually, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring constantly, for another 3 minutes. Off the heat, add cheddar and parmesan, stirring to combine. Add pasta/broccoli and coat well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place pasta in an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until bubbling in the center. Sprinkle panko over macaroni and cheese. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
Recipe Credit: Martha Stewart.