Broccoli and Bacon Mac & Cheese

Broccoli and Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

Plenty of people are passionate about food – good food – and perhaps none more so than the people out there who read and comment on food blogs. And that’s where we got dinner tonight.

On the post about National Pasta Month, reader Anna mentioned her friend’s “desperation” macaroni & cheese. Broccoli & bacon + macaroni & cheese. It may have been created in a moment of desperation, but there is nothing second-rate about it.

Broccoli and Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

I modified our favorite stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe to use what we had in the cheese & veggie bins: fontina, cheddar, bacon, and 1 1/2 crowns of the saddest looking broccoli you’ve ever seen. If you’re unfamiliar with the original recipe, it uses fat-free, high-protein Greek yogurt in the cheese sauce. The yogurt and fontina help the cheddar melt into a smoother sauce. If you can’t get fontina, try white American cheese – just using more cheddar and other less melt-friendly cheeses won’t be very pretty.

You can feel good about yourself for adding broccoli. And just feel good about the bacon :)

Broccoli and Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

Broccoli and bacon make macaroni and cheese a one-dish dinner.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 4 thick slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 crowns of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use fat-free Greek)
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 4 oz fontina, shredded
  • 4 oz cheddar, shredded
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium saute pan, cook the bacon to a crisp and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
  2. Cook macaroni pasta in salted water according to package directions, until al dente.
  3. Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining the pasta.
  4. Drain the pasta water into a second pot and return the pot to the stovetop.
  5. Add the broccoli to the hot water and cook over medium-high for 3-4 minutes, until just fork tender and then drain. (Alternately, you can just use the second pot and cook the broccoli at the same time.)
  6. While the broccoli is cooking, transfer the pasta to a large bowl.
  7. Add 1/4 cup pasta water, the yogurt, a few dashes of hot sauce, and 1/3 of the grated cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
  8. Stir in remaining cheese, one small handful at a time to prevent clumping.
  9. Add additional pasta water as necessary to thin the cheese sauce.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Add the broccoli and bacon, mix well, and serve.

Notes

Yields: 4 generous servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 20 minutes

22 comments… add one

  • That looks great!
    Interesting to read how you make you cheese sauce. Is it “healthier” than the milk/flour version?

    • I guess it depends on how you look at it, there’s probably a good argument for both varieties. I use Fage 0% because 1) I like the taste of it and 2) it’s loaded with protein, far more than any other plain or Greek-style yogurt. That’s really the selling point of that yogurt for me for me. Another reader has told me that she used light sour cream in the original version and her kids liked it more than the yogurt variety.

  • That is a great idea to use yogurt for the cheese sauce…I can’t wait to try that out!!! We usually always have some sad looking broccoli in our fridge that needs used. This really does look great:-)

  • This looks fantastic! I have never heard of using Greek yogurt in the sauce but I can’t wait to try this!

  • This looks amazing! I cannot wait to make this. *adding broccoli and yogurt to shopping list*

  • Amazing! What a healthy, fun twist on traditional mac and cheese!

  • Angela

    All of my favorites in one dish! Mouth watering!!

  • anything with bacon – sign me up!

  • It looks so rich and creamy! What a great combination. It would also be good with a few sun-dried tomatoes. I love them in dishes like this.

  • Mmm, I’m so into broccoli right now so this is perfect. I wish I had it for dinner tonight!

  • Patti T.

    I sing the praises of fat free Greek yogurt all the time, can’t believe I didn’t think of this. The recipe sounds fantastic and something my whole family would enjoy. Thanks for a great idea.

  • I’ve been meaning to make your mac and cheese for ages! I love all the veggies you threw in here…but DESPERATE it is not. :)

  • Donna Jahn

    Can you get me the calories per serving and the protein as well?

    Thanks,
    Donna J
    TN

  • Mmm, leftover broccoli in the fridge right now, I think this might have to be my recipe of choice for dinner tomorrow! Looks delish! PS – LOVE the idea of using yogurt instead of a buttery bechamel sauce! Now if only foodgawker would accept some of MY pics! LOL

  • Diane

    Oh my, that looks devine, I can almost taste – can not wait to make this. Thank you, thank you.

  • Debra

    Good Grief this is AMAZING…I started drooling at the name, the photo’s took it over the edge and my keyboard has been drowned.

  • You are speaking my language, Shawnda… looks amazing! :)

  • You can’t go wrong with pasta, cheese, broccoli, or bacon. All four together is dreamy!

  • I know what I’m making for dinner. This looks great!! :-)

  • Definately adding this to my recipe list, thank you.

  • This was insanely good, for being so insanely easy. Thanks for this keeper!
    PS – I went ahead and invited some Pepper Jack to the party, just for kicks :)

  • Great post.

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