Skillet Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Garlic Breadcrumbs

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Dear Skillet Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Garlic Breadcrumbs,  

It has been only days since you last pressed against my lips.  I can't stop thinking about you.  When the days are long and busy, you are there for me and comfort me.  I miss you.  I understand why you had to go, but I will patiently wait for you return.
All My Love,

Readers, followers, and fans of all things food, I'd like to introduce you to my new skillet love--creamy, cheesy homemade mac-n-chesse (with a veggie bonus) in one skillet and on the table in under 25 minutes.  Did you just feel a drop in the blue box sales?  Well, I did.  This is some seriously good stuff, not to mention easy-peasy.

I love a comforting bowl of cheesy pasta, but I also like to have a little something in it or on the side for some added texture and flavor (cue the bread crumbs and broccoli).  I start by sautéing a little garlic in some butter before tossing in some freshly crumbled white bread slices.   Once toasted, I wipe out the skillet and then start on the pasta.  The pasta is simmered in water and evaporated milk (I used 2%) for a few minutes before adding the broccoli.  This ensures that the broccoli doesn't over cook and become mushy.  Once the pasta and broccoli are cooked to perfection, a little cornstarch goes in to thicken the sauce before adding the cheeses.  The original recipe called for cheddar and jack cheese, but I love the combo of a quality, aged sharp white cheddar and good ole white american--sharp and creamy indeed.  

I brought the skillet to the table and told everyone that this serves four.  They looked at me with funny faces and said, "Four what? Four hungry bears?" Let's just say we had leftovers for school and work lunches (another bonus).  However, if you have hearty appetites to satisfy, then you might stick with the "serves four" portions.  One tip--if you think you might have leftovers like we did, serve the bread crumbs on the side and store the leftovers in separate containers.

As far as the pasta goes, you can use any bite-size shape that you like.  Elbows are a natural choice, but I have also used medium shells or in this case, lumache.  It's a sea shell kind of shape that compliments the size of the broccoli pieces.  I just love how the cheese seeps into the crevices so that when you take a bite you get this little explosion of cheese in your mouth.  Fire in the hole!  Speaking of fire, if you can handle a little heat, go ahead and spice it up with some ground cayenne pepper.  

P.S. Thinking of you always!
Printable Recipe

Skillet Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese with Garlic Breadcrumbs
serves 4-6

For the Garlic Breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium garlic clove, finely grated on a micro-plane 
2 cups (about 2 slices) hearty white bread, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Macaroni and Cheese
3 3/4 cups water
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces bite-size pasta, like elbow or shell (I used lumache)
12 ounces broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon cornstarch
8 ounces sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces white American cheese, grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

For the Garlic Breadcrumbs
In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium-heat.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the bread crumbs and sauté until toasted, about 7-9 minutes.  Transfer the breadcrumbs to a plate and set aside to cool.  Wipe out the skillet.

For the Macaroni and Cheese
In the same skillet bring the water, 1 1/4 cups of the evaporated milk, and salt to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is almost tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the broccoli and cook, covered; stirring frequently until the pasta and broccoli are tender, about 5 minutes more.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining 1/4 cup of evaporated milk and cornstarch together, then stir into the macaroni.  Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the Cheddar and American cheese.  Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and season with cayenne pepper if using.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from cookscountry.com


  1. This looks fantastic. I'm making pizza tonight - something easy and casual as we watch the NFL draft. I think this recipe has Friday night dinner written all over it.

  2. Made this for dinnet tonight! I was not sure what my husband would think, he is very serious about his mac and cheese, I only make the passed-down "family recipe". I am happy to report this was a big hit!!! He loved it!! I added mushrooms and chopped leaks (because they were in my fridge) along with the broccoli. "Easy peasy"!! Thanks!!

    1. That is wonderful to hear! Thank you for letting me know.


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