Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? It’s obviously a favorite of nearly every kid alive, but us adults have the luxury of stepping away from the blue box and really getting down to business with the real deal.
Despite the fact that it’s summer and nearly 100 degrees here in Chicago, I couldn’t resist the urge to stand over the stove and make a batch of creamy mac and cheese. Pungent gruyere, salty Parmesan and bitter mustard greens all come together with pasta to create something completely indulgent and comforting. If you’ve never put greens in your mac before, you have to try it. It helps set off the richness a bit, which makes me feel a little less guilty about the whole thing. But honestly, I’d feel much more guilty eating the stuff from the blue box.
What’s really in that powered cheese, anyway?
Gruyere Mac and Cheese with Mustard Greens
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
What you need:
- 1 bunch mustard greens, stems trimmed
- 1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni, cooked to package directions
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup minced shallots (about 2 large shallots)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups skim milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the mustard greens for approximately 1 minute. Drain and immediately rinse with very cold water. Squeeze all the remaining water out of the greens with a towel, chop greens into half inch ribbons, and set aside.
- In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until translucent; approximately 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over shallots and whisk for approximately 2 minutes or until the flour has turned a nutty brown color.
- Whisking constantly, slowly add 2 cups of milk. Once combined, add the remaining cup of milk, plus the cup and half of half. Raise the heat to medium-high, add cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and whisk constantly until the sauce comes to a boil; about 8 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and stir sauce occasionally until thick; approximately 15 minutes more.
- Add chopped mustard greens, gruyere and Parmesan; stirring until the cheese has melted into the sauce. Taste and adjust for seasonings if necessary. Add cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
- Serve topped with freshly cracked pepper and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.