Broccoli, Cheddar, and Crispy Shallot Mac & Cheese
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup vegetable or peanut oil
  • 6 shallots, cut crosswise as thin as possible, separated into rings
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 ounces penne pasta or small shells
  • 8 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • ¾ cup chopped onion.
  • 12 ounces mushrooms quartered (I omitted these)
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (3½ cups)
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, saute shallots until browned and crisp, 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels; they will continue to crisp as they cool. Season lightly with salt. These can be made up to three days ahead and stored in an airtight container; you can also substitute canned fried onions.
  3. Butter a 1½ quart baking dish or six 8-ounce ramekins.
  4. Fill a 4 or 5 quart pan with water, and 1 tbsp salt, and bring to a boil. Add pasta. After 8 minutes, add the broccoli and cook and additional 3-4 minutes. Drain and reserve the pot.
  5. In a medium skillet, melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until soft and creamy in texture, about 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  6. In the pot you used for the pasta, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in flour until a paste forms, 30 seconds. Continue whisking for 1-2 minutes more, until mixture starts to darken and smell a bit nutty. Slowly whisk in the milk, cream, and ½ tsp salt and cook until the mixture starts to bubble around the edges, 5-7 minutes. Add 2½ cups of the cheddar, and the cayenne, mustard, and nutmeg. Stir until the sauce is thick and creamy, about the texture of cake batter.
  7. Add the pasta-broccoli mixture to the sauce along with the onion/mushroom mixture. Stir to combine. Pour into baking dish. Distribute shallots (or canned onions) over the top along with the remaining grated cheese.
  8. Place dish on a rimmed baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes after removing from oven.
Notes
I did find an error in the recipe below as I made it; there was no instruction when to add the sauteed onion and mushroom. I've added that here, and also note that I omitted the mushrooms. Because I don't like them, not because I'm a picky eater.
Recipe by Sprung At Last at http://www.sprungatlast.com/2012/12/broccoli-cheddar-and-crispy-shallot-mac-cheese/