Vegetable Drawer Macaroni & Cheese

My fridge is bursting at the seems with winter veg. Beets, broccoli, kale, chard, carrots, and parsnips - oh my! A great way to clear out space - make a mac & cheese with loads of vegetables. Here's how I made my hodge-podge veggie mac:


  • bunch of chard, washed, stems removed & chopped, leaves chopped
  • broccoli crown or bunch of broccolini, chopped
  • 1 lbs mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup of shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of shredded pecorino romano
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • olive oil
  • 5 tbsp butter, 2 diced
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup milk
  • fresh grated nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 package of dried pasta, like orecchiette
  • basil chicken sausage, optional, pan-seared

Method: For the veggies & pasta:

  1. preheat oven to 425
  2. get water boiling in a pasta pot, cook noodles according to package instructions
  3. in a large pan, sauté all of the vegetables in olive oil, cook until fork tender (not mushy), season with salt & pepper, grate a pinch of nutmeg over the veg
  4. transfer the vegetables & pasta to a baking dish

For the béchamel:

  1. in a small sauce pot melt 3 tbsp of butter with a drizzle of olive oil
  2. over low heat, add 1/4 cup of flour & whisk
  3. when the roux is yellow slowly whisk in the half/half and milk
  4. grate in a pinch of nutmeg, season with pepper & cayenne
  5. add grated gruyere & cheddar
  6. pour into veg/pasta mix & gently incorporate

Pull it together:

  1. cover the mixture with panko & pecorino, then add the cubed butter
  2. bake for 15-20 mins
  3. while the pasta bakes, sear the sausage until brown & crispy
  4. plate everything & top with some dried oregano & red pepper flakes

I love to clear out the fridge with a dish like this. It's full of great veg that's often neglected. Something about the creamy white sauce makes every bite amazing. Though my husband would scoff at my "optional" rating of the sausage, it really is. This makes for an easy vegetarian meal, and if he wants to cook the side of meat, then all the better!