Recipe by Local Roots recipe contributor, Chef Casey Corn @casey_corn
It's officially fall, which means any excuse for mac and cheese is a good one. Spigarello is basically the baby of a love affair between broccoli and kale, and though it looks pretty fibrous, it's actually not all that tough. Playing off of its broccoli roots, this mac and cheese takes broccoli and cheddar soup to a whole new level.
1 bu spigarello
½ box pasta, shape of your choice
2 c whole milk
1 ea small shallot
4 ea garlic cloves
1 tsp +½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground white pepper
½ c + 2 Tbs unsalted butter
¼ c all purpose flour
16 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
1. Cut shallot in half and smash garlic cloves. Place two cloves and the shallot in a medium pot with the milk, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper, and place over very low heat to infuse, stirring occasionally.
2. Heavily salt a pot of water, and bring to a boil for the pasta. When the water is boiling, add the pasta, and cook to 1 minute before recommended al dente cooking time, then strain, reserving ⅓ cup pasta water.
3. To prep the spigarello, coarsely chop the leaves, and finely chop the stems. Grate the cheddar on a box grater and set aside.
4. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of butter with the remaining 2 smashed garlic cloves. Once butter starts to foam, add in the spigarello stems and lower the heat slightly. Allow the stems to saute and soften for a few minutes, then add in the leaves. Toss to coat in the butter, then season with the half teaspoon of salt and stir again. Cover to steam, and if the spigarello is looking dry, add a tablespoon or two of pasta water and continue cooking until soft. This is pasta water in addition to the ⅓ cup saved earlier.
5. Remove the garlic and shallot from the milk, and add in the ½ cup of butter and the flour. Whisk in, over medium low heat, until the sauce begins to thicken, then add in the ⅓ cup pasta water, and continue to whisk until thick. Turn off heat, and add in grated cheese, leaving about ½ cup of cheese.
6. Stir in cheese until smooth. Remove the garlic from the spigarello, then fold it in to the sauce, followed by the pasta.
7. Transfer to a baking dish, and top with the remaining cheese. Broil until golden.
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