Broccoli-cheddar soup is fabulous—and bacon makes everything better—so how could you not combine them into one glorious macaroni and cheese!? That was my thinking last night and, you know what, it totally worked. (Bonus: Broccoli adds plenty of vitamin C and cuts calories, since you can use less pasta without reducing portion size.) I give you: My new favorite macaroni and cheese...
BACON-BROCCOLI MACARONI AND CHEESE
4 strips bacon
10 ounces fussili pasta
2 to 3 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
10 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded
2 ounces parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
Pinch of turmeric (optional)
1. Bring 1 pot salted water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, cook 4 strips bacon in a large skillet until crisp, about 5 minutes; drain on paper towels. Let cool, then roughly chop.
3. Add the fussili to the boiling water and cook as the package directs; add the broccoli florets to the boiling water 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking. Drain together and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, in another pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until a paste forms and the flour-taste cooks off, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in the cheddar, gruyere and parmesan and cook until melted. Add the turmeric, for color, if using and hot sauce to taste. Season with salt. Remove from the heat. Fold in the fussili-broccoli mixture and half of the bacon. Divide among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining bacon.