Shrimp Mac and Cheese

After a long and stressful day, there's nothing better than a big bowl filled to the brim with gooey macaroni and cheese. The ultimate comfort food, mac and cheese is the perfect way to warm up during the cold winter months, and tastes just as good now as it did when we were kids. 


But as much as you may have loved your favorite dinner-in-a-box as a child, it's time to give mac and cheese a much-needed adult upgrade.

This low-fat recipe from Pasta Fits adds shrimp, broccoli, fresh garlic, peas, breadcrumbs and a hint of nutmeg for a well-rounded pasta dish that's and super easy to make. Plus, it comes out a gorgeous natural color -- not that neon orange shade from yesteryear. 

Make sure you and your family get a hearty serving of veggies (disguised as guilty pleasure food) with this savory, better-for-you Shrimp Mac and Cheese recipe. 

Ingredients
  • 6 cups (6 ounces) broccoli rabe, tough stems removed, sliced into 1” shreds
  • 1 pound/~24 pieces medium shrimp
  • 4 ounce elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoon (1 ounce) butter
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) skim milk
  • Several grates of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup (5 ounces). frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the broccoli rabe until tender (about 5 minutes).

Remove broccoli rabe (do not drain) and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Use the same water to cook the shrimp until just cooked (about 2 minutes).

Remove shrimp and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Finally, cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain pasta and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

Heat a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add butter and garlic and cook until the garlic is aromatic (about 30 seconds).

Whisking constantly, stir in the flour, taking care the flour doesn’t brown. Continue to cook for 2 minutes.

Whisk in the milk. It will thicken as it gets hot. Whisk constantly; any lumps will smooth out. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes. The mixture will bubble and thicken. When it no longer changes in consistency, it’s done.

Stir in nutmeg, cayenne, and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in pasta, broccoli rabe, peas, shrimp, and basil. Spread into a 9” x 13” pan. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. (Mac ‘n’ cheese can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated or frozen.)

Bake for 15 minutes, or until heated through.

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