1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi (corkscrew-shaped pasta)
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 cups whole milk
1 cup chicken stock or broth
3 cups grated sharp yellow cheddar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
While the pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add the EVOO and heat with the butter until it melts. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to sweat them out and turn the juices sweet.
You may have noticed that I skipped a recipe in the cookbook. Rachael Ray does variations on many of her recipes, but I find it a little monotonous to have the (almost) same meal 2, 3, 4 days in a row. So, I decided to separate them out, just a little. Tomorrow we'll be coming back to the variation of the Shepherd's Pie, so that we can split up the Mac-n-Cheese quartet.
About this recipe: I love it. I ate so much of it I'm just going to burst! I did not change it except to lengthen the time for the sauce to simmer, but if you have children, you might want to cut back on the cayenne pepper. Because of the broccoli and the fact that there's no meat, I didn't feel the need to add any salad or veggies to this one. The one thing I did change was the suggested number of servings. In my house, this could easily feed 8, but you may have larger appetites than we do. So I changed her 4 servings to 6.