Sneaking vegetables into comfort food is not just for getting kids to eat their vegetables — it works for grown-ups too. I’m always trying to eat more vegetables, but I’m very easily distracted by macaroni and cheese. This recipe combines the two for a rich, cheesy dish of classic macaroni and cheese, but it also contains a ton of fresh, grated zucchini. The zucchini is enveloped in such a savory blanket of cheese the author says you’ll never even taste it, but you’ll know it’s there.
All the zucchini is a good thing, but if you add a lot it can make the pasta watery. Rather than use less, though, you can solve the problem by squeezing all the excess moisture out of the grated zucchini with a paper towel before you start.
Set some pasta to boil (the author recommends shells). When the pasta is al dente, drain it and set it aside.
Before you make the sauce, measure out all your ingredients and have them ready to go in the pan. The sauce cooks so quickly, you need to be on top of it. Melt some butter in an oven-safe skillet, Dutch oven, or pot, then whisk in a little bit of flour and milk to make a roux. Keep whisking to break up any lumps, and let it simmer until it’s nice and thick, like a gravy. Then mix in garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Stir in shredded sharp cheddar cheese until it melts. If you shred your own cheese instead of buying pre-shredded cheese in a bag, you’ll probably find that it melts better into your sauce.
Fold the cooked pasta into the sauce with the shredded zucchini, and it’s ready to eat immediately. To make it a bit more special, though, you can sprinkle grated cheese over the top of it — more cheddar works, but you could also use pepper Jack, or whatever you like, just to make it a bit different. Broil it for a few minutes to melt the cheese so it’s bubbly and golden on top, and it’s ready to eat as a main course or side dish.
Get the recipe: Zucchini Mac and Cheese from Ambitious Kitchen
More Delicious, Lighter Takes on Mac and Cheese
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese
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