A Better Mac and Cheese

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My little garden has been giving me lots of green goodies this past week.  Kale, cabbage, broccolini, broccoli, collards…yum.  While I love my dark leafy greens and use them often in smoothies and juices, sometimes you just need to cover those babies in cheese and mix them with pasta!

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DSC_0133 baby broccolini and different varieties of kale from the garden

This is great food for when you have eaten well all day and are looking forward to sitting down to an indulgent, comforting dish.  Like my spaghetti recipe, this comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta.  It does contain quite a bit of cheese, but unlike those gloppy, pasty traditional sauce recipes, we use no milk.  While milk contains high levels of lactose, the process of cheese making greatly reduces the lactose in cheese.  The cheese does still contain casein (a protein which is difficult for humans to process/digest), which is why this is a special, but oh so worth it, treat.

The general rule of thumb is the harder/more aged the cheese the less lactose.  If you are lactose sensitive, choose a harder cheese for this (cheddar and Parmesan have trace levels, mozzarella, fontina and havarti have low levels and are perfect for this).  I used havarti, but you can use what you have or a combination of what you like.  Buy a high quality or artisan cheese for this.  You’re being naughty, make it worth it 😉

A Better Mac and Cheese (serves 4-6)

1 lb of pasta, use a fun shape!

3-4 cups broccolini, chopped (substitute broccoli if unable to source broccolini)

2 cups kale, chopped

Bring a big pot of salted water up to a boil.  Once the water is boiling add the pasta.  Cook according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, grate 2 cups of cheese.  5 minutes before the pasta is due to be ready, add the chopped broccoli to the pot and boil with the pasta.  Use a ladle to remove and reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water.  When pasta and broccoli are done, drain.  Place pasta and broccoli back in pot ( removed from the burner which will still be warm and cause the pasta to over cook).  Add 2 T extra virgin olive oil to the pasta and stir to combine.  Add chopped kale. Add 1/2 of the reserved cooking water and 1/2 of the grated cheese.  Stir to begin to create a silky, creamy sauce.  Watch to see if the cheese clumps together and if it does, stir to separate so that it fully melts and incorporates into the sauce. Add the other 1/2 of the cooking water and cheese.  Stir to combine.  Add some freshly ground pepper and salt to taste (I usually don’t add additional salt as most cheese is quite salty). Taste and add another drizzle of oil if needed.

Enjoy ❤ ❤

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