I’m all about eating healthy and using veggie noodles and bean based pastas and light sauces. But sometimes you just gotta have some comfort food old school style! Of course with whole wheat pasta and some veggies thrown in for good measure 🙂 (And if you still want a lighter version of this, check out my zoodle pasta primavera which has all the same veggies but with zucchini noodles and a light garlic white wine sauce).
K, now back to the hearty cheesiness! We are currently smack dab in the middle of Ohio winter, with 3 inches of snow that came Saturday and about 2 more overnight last night. I’m writing this at 6am but there’s no school today and I can already feel that I’m going to want to stay inside in comfy clothes and clean out the mess that is our basement after Christmas. Instead, I am taking a group of kids bowling, because that’s always a smart thing to do for your sanity, right?!
But tonight there will be this! Warm and creamy and filling with no apologies. Just looking at this picture makes me want to grab a big fork.
You can prep the veggies ahead of time, and really it’s only chopping up some broccoli florets and red peppers, because the peas and spinach are done for you aside from opening the packaging. And use the broccoli stems! So many people toss them and focus only on the florets, but the stems are good too and have their own taste and texture. If the outer skin is tough, peel it away with a knife or peeler before chopping. Don’t waste these, you paid for them!
So, you’ve got the veggies ready:
You’ll saute them and make homemade cheese sauce (if you’ve never done this, it’s so easy I promise!) while the pasta cooks. Then toss it all together and dive in 🙂
This mac and cheese veggie primavera is comfort food packed with tons of veggies and topped with homemade cheese sauce!
- 1 pkg 16 oz whole wheat farfalle
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 bunch broccoli (florets and stems chopped small)
- 1 red pepper (cored and seeds removed, sliced thin)
- 1.5 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 2 - 3 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I use Better Than Boullion No Chicken flavor)
- 3 tbsp butter (I use Kerrygold grassfed)
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 3/4 cups shredded cheddar (I use half white cheddar and half regular)
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook per package instructions.
Heat a stir fry pan or large skillet over medium and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the minced garlic and cook for one minute, stirring. Then add the peas, broccoli, and red peppers and stir. Add 1/2 cup broth and stir/cook until the veggies are tender and liquid absorbed. Stir in the baby spinach in the last minute of cooking and allow it to wilt slightly. Remove from the heat.
To make the cheese sauce, heat a saucepan over medium. Melt the butter in the pan, then whisk in the flour. Continue whisking, and slowly add in the milk, whisking between additions. Once all the milk has been added, cook over medium heat, stirring, for about five minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted, and add salt to taste.
Stir together the cooked pasta and cheese sauce, then mix in the veggies and serve!
Makes 4 large servings or 6 small