Grown up because it's meant to hide vegetables so children will eat them; but the veg are a flavorful part of the dish for the knowing grownup. The genius part of this cheesy mac with a crumb topping is that the crumbs are blended with raw broccoli and garlic and a little oil and a bit of salt making it very flavorful and fresh tasting, and for the macaroni part you blend spinach with the tomatoes, so it's quite green especially for a winter meal. If it were high summer instead of midwinter you would blend together ripe fresh tomatoes instead of canned, and add big handfuls of basil to both top and bottom layers, but even as a winter meal it is pretty amazing. Chopped ham could be added, but I like it just as given below. —Starmade
or so of chopped broccoli
2 or 3
(depending on size) slices of stale bread, toasted
large cloves garlic smashed and peeled
pine nuts, walnuts, pecans or a mix or whatever is in the cupboard
macaroni or other small pasta (I like orecchiette)
14 oz can of tomatoes, drained well
fresh spinach or chard or arugula
hard sharp cheese, grated, divided; a mix of gruyere and parmesan is good but use what you have (it will probably make a packed and heaped cup by volume)
chevre or soft feta
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 350. Put macaroni on to boil.
Put all topping ingredients into a food processor and blend till it makes a moist mass; put in a bowl and set aside. It will look like a lot; that is good.
Blend tomatoes and greens in the now empty food processor. In a bowl mix sour cream, chevre, and most of the grated cheese (hold back a bit to sprinkle on top). Stir the tomato and spinach mix through till it is all creamy looking. Add the now drained pasta. Add pepper. I like a lot of pepper. Put in a baking dish big enough to hold it all. Dump the broccoli crumb mixture over the top, smooth out and press down. Sprinkle over it the cheese you have left and another drizzle olive oil if it looks dry.
Bake for 15 or 20 minutes, till it crisps a bit over the top, and the macaroni bubbles a little at the edges, but don't let it get too brown.