Baked Gratin with Broccoli and Macaroni is a delightful dish that brings together the comforting flavors of macaroni and the earthy goodness of broccoli, all baked to perfection. This Italian-American classic has a heartwarming history of being a go-to family favorite.
Traditionally, gratins were first created in France, but this Americanized version adds a twist by incorporating macaroni and cheese into the mix. It’s the ultimate comfort food, with a creamy, cheesy sauce that envelops every bite of tender macaroni and crisp broccoli.
Why I Love This Recipe and Why You’ll Want to Try It
I can’t help but adore this Baked Gratin with Broccoli and Macaroni recipe. It’s the kind of dish that combines simplicity and flavor in the most satisfying way. The creamy cheese sauce, with its hints of garlic and thyme, perfectly complements the slightly crunchy broccoli and the soft, chewy macaroni. Plus, that golden breadcrumb crust on top adds just the right amount of crunch.
It’s a dish that brings back memories of family gatherings and cozy dinners. Whether you’re a fan of comfort food classics or just looking for a delicious meal to share, this gratin will win you over.
Key Ingredients and Their Purpose
- Macaroni: The star of the show, macaroni provides the comforting base for the gratin. It soaks up the creamy cheese sauce and complements the broccoli beautifully.
- Broccoli Florets: Broccoli adds a healthy, vibrant element to the dish. It’s packed with nutrients and offers a pleasant crunch amidst the creamy textures.
- Cheeses (Cheddar and Parmesan): These cheeses are the heart and soul of the dish, delivering that irresistible creaminess and cheesy goodness.
- Butter and Flour: These form the roux, the base of the cheese sauce, which thickens it to the perfect consistency.
- Milk: It’s the liquid component of the sauce, ensuring that it’s smooth and luscious.
- Spices (Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dried Thyme): These seasonings add depth and flavor to the cheese sauce, enhancing the overall taste.
- Breadcrumbs: The breadcrumbs on top create a delightful crispy crust during baking, adding a satisfying contrast to the creamy interior.
Instructions and Summary
To make this Baked Gratin with Broccoli and Macaroni, start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). Boil the macaroni and broccoli until they’re just tender, and then prepare the cheese sauce by melting butter, adding flour, and gradually whisking in milk and the various cheeses. Mix the cooked macaroni and broccoli with the cheese sauce, transfer it to a greased casserole dish, and top it with breadcrumbs. Bake for 25–30 minutes until it’s golden and bubbling. Let it cool briefly, then serve up heaping portions of this cheesy, comforting goodness. Enjoy!
Baked Gratin With Broccoli and Macaroni
- Large pot for boiling
- Oven-safe casserole dish
- Mixing bowl
- Knife and cutting board
- 8 ounces macaroni
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- Cooking spray
- Preheat the Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Boil Macaroni and Broccoli: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the macaroni until it’s al dente, following the package instructions. About 2 minutes before the macaroni is done, add the broccoli florets to the boiling water. Drain both macaroni and broccoli in a colander and set them aside.
- Prepare the Cheese Sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and whisk continuously for about 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture turns a light golden color.
- Add Milk and Cheese: Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried thyme. Stir until the cheeses are fully melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Combine Macaroni, Broccoli, and Cheese Sauce: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked macaroni and broccoli with the cheese sauce. Ensure that the macaroni and broccoli are evenly coated with the creamy sauce.
- Transfer to Casserole Dish: Grease an oven-safe casserole dish with cooking spray. Transfer the macaroni and broccoli mixture into the dish, spreading it out evenly.
- Top with Breadcrumbs: Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the top of the macaroni mixture. This will create a crispy, golden-brown crust when baked.
- Bake: Place the casserole dish in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the cheese sauce is bubbling around the edges.
- Serve: Remove the baked gratin from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Scoop out generous portions onto plates, and savor the creamy, cheesy goodness!
- Feel free to customize your gratin by adding cooked bacon bits, diced ham, or sautéed mushrooms for extra flavor.
- Make sure not to overcook the macaroni during the initial boiling, as it will continue cooking in the oven.
- For a crispier breadcrumb topping, you can broil the gratin for a minute or two at the end of baking.
- Calories: 425
- Fat: 20g
- Carbohydrates: 38g
- Protein: 21g
- Fiber: 3g
- Sugars: 6g