Mac and Cheese with Veggies and Carrot Greens

Every now and then, I like to make mac and cheese. I guess it isn't really mac and cheese because I like to use Barilla Plus medium shells instead of macaroni or elbows. I use my friend Erin's recipe and add whatever flavors I feel like. Erin is one of my oldest friends, and she and my mother have been the two biggest influences on how I cook. Her blog is definitely worth a gander. Back to mac and cheese: one of my favorite flavor combinations has been black beans and salsa for a Mexican style mac and cheese. Today, I decided to use some refrigerator leftovers and CSA veggies that I wasn't sure what to do with. I will say, my favorite part of this rendition is the carrot greens. I even put a sausage in there, but I like the flavor of the carrot greens more than anything else I put in there. I also really loved the shells on top that got really crispy. Since this isn't my recipe, I'll just list my additions here.

Mac and Cheese Add Ins

1 large onion, diced
one zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise
1 bunch beet greens and stems, stems chopped finely, greens chopped coarsely
1 bunch carrot greens, chopped
cheese: 8 oz grated sharp cheddar, a few oz grated smoked cheddar, 4 oz shredded oaxaca
generous dash of cayenne

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Saute onion in olive oil. When onion is translucent, add zucchini. When zucchini is soft, add beet greens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When beet greens have wilted, shut off heat and stir in carrot greens.

3. Boil 1 box pasta until it's as soft as you like it. Drain and set aside.

4. When you're making the cheese sauce according to Erin's instructions, add a good shake or two of cayenne after adding the milk to the golden roux.

5. Mix the pasta and the cooked greens in a 9 x 13" or other appropriately sized baking dish. Pour the cheesy milk sauce over this and give it another good stir. Sprinkle the top with whatever cheese you have left.

6. Bake for about 30 minutes until the top gets crusty and the juice gets bubbly.


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