Tuesday, November 6, 2012 / 56 Comments / , , , , , , , ,

Baked Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese

Ah mac & cheese... You're so comforting and warm and soft, yet crunchy crisp on the outside. Could you get any better? Why yes, yes, you could! With the addition of some roasted Brussels sprouts. 
Are you with me here, or have I lost you? Brussels sprouts have made a comeback in a serious way. The once hated healthy fall/winter vegetable is now a family favorite. They are definitely high on my girls' favorite veggie list. Is your family the same way? If not, maybe this kid-friendly recipe will change thier minds. Just last week when my girlfriends and I had a rare mommys' dinner out at Lucky's we asked our server, "do you have the... Brussels sprouts tonight? We didn't see it on the menu..." She nodded affirmatively and we all sighed in relief. True story. Brussels sprouts can be that good. 
Pieces of fresh mozzarella turn into gooey goodness while part low-fat cheese and a base of 2% Greek yogurt keep the calories in check, boost the protein, and make it easy to make gluten free. 

Pop quiz:
Q: Is mozzarella vegetarian?
A: Not necessarily. Rennet, which comes from unweaned calves stomach linings, is used to curdle the milk, and the baby cow must be killed to obtain the rennet. Lovely, lovely (I'm doing a squeamish face wiggly dance right now). Luckily you can buy vegetarian cheeses at many stores.  Here's a great list of vegetarian cheeses

Whenever you see little hands reaching into the picture it's a good sign. Our whole family loved this recipe and it was just as delicious the next day for lunch. The best part? It's a one-dish complete meal easy enough for any night of the week, but would also be fantastic on a Thanksgiving table. 

Baked Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese
printer friendly recipe 

Serves 6-8

3 cups (or 1 stalk) Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound favorite short pasta (whole wheat, high protein, gluten-free, etc. are fine!)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance or butter, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
6 oz. 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 cup 2% milk
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used a combination of cheeses in my fridge - Gouda, Cheddar, etc.)
4 oz. fresh mozzarella in water, drained and cut into 1/2" pieces
pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/24 cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten free breadcrumbs if you like)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove Brussels sprouts from the stalk and cut in half lengthwise. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast until fork tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain. Place the pot used for cooking the pasta over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or butter until melted, and then add the garlic. Saute one minute. Add the yogurt, milk, 3 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese, mozzarella cheese,  salt and pepper to taste, cooked pasta, and roasted Brussels sprouts. Stir to combine. Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese and breadcrumbs over the top. Dot with remaining tablespoon of Earth Balance or butter. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees until bubbly and slightly browned on the top.

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