One of the easiest weeknight meals is to turn a simple homemade mac and cheese into a full meal. You just need to add a protein and a vegetable to your usual recipe and maybe add a few extra seasonings to liven things up a bit. This super simple pasta dish it a way to make your whole family happy with mac and cheese without being just mac and cheese. Andouille Broccoli Mac is so easy but bursting with flavor.
I used cavatappi pasta for this recipe because it’s a fun cut of pasta and my family loves it. I like that it’s not a tight curly like rotini, it’s a slightly thicker pasta so it tastes more substantial and it usually has small ridges that really let the sauce cling to it. You can use any short pasta you like – really elbow, shells, rotini, penne, cellentani – would all work just fine. The real trick of this recipe is cooking the broccoli directly in with the pasta. It cooks the broccoli just enough to not be mush but still be hot through.
I like to use a beef andouille sausage for most recipes. It just has the meatier flavor I am looking for when it is serving as the only meat in a dish. For this recipe, I am assuming that the sausage you get is precooked. If you are using uncooked (or uncured) sausage, you will want to cook it through whole before cutting it into the slices.
This recipe for cheese sauce is one you will want to hold on to. All you have to do is take out the extras (chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and oregano) and you have the traditional cheese sauce that you can dress up anyway you like. The secrets to a great mac and cheese sauce are two seasonings – ground mustard and paprika. These are what brings that quintessential mac and cheese flavor.
Now Let’s Get Cookin’!
Andouille Broccoli Mac
- 2 lb Andouille Sausage cut into ¼ inch slices
- 2 oz Oil
- 2 lb Cavatappi Pasta or other short pasta
- 12 ounce Fresh Broccoli Florets chopped
For the Cheese Sauce
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 4 tbsp Flour
- 2 cups Milk
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Ground Mustard
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 3 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
- Start water boiling for the pasta.
- In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add oil. Once hot, add sausage slices. and saute until a bit of color on each slice.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed on the package. In the last five minutes of the cook time, add the broccoli to the boiling water. Drain in a colander and return to pot away from heat.
- In a sauce pan over medium high heat, add butter and garlic powder. Once melted whisk in flour. Let cook for two minutes then whisk in milk and let cook for two minutes then whisk in seasonings and cook another two minutes. Whisk in heavy cream and cook another two minutes. Then add in cheese, a handful at a time, whisking until it's melted in.
- Add sausage and cheese sauce to pasta and broccoli. and stir to thoroughly combine.
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