Question: what’s better than macaroni and cheese?
Macaroni and cheese that adds some veggies to your diet but doesn’t taste at all like a diet food.
If you keep up with the blog, you’ve likely seen my butternut squash macaroni and cheese (updated and classed-up version coming soon!), which I also brag hides vegetables in the mac and cheese. But the texture of it is pretty thick, so it doesn’t feel quite as creamy and indulgent.
This arugula version, however, is beyond fancy. The Gruyere paired with extra sharp cheddar adds levels of taste, enough so that when I put this out in the lunchroom it was gone within 10 minutes. Not bad for a veggie dish if I do say so myself.
16 ounces shell macaroni
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
about 8 cups baby arugula (roughly 32 ounce bag, more or less depending on your liking)
5 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
2½ cups half-and-half
pinch of cayenne pepper
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
7 ounces extra sharp cheddar, shredded
4 ounces Gruyere, shredded
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1. Preheat your oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
2. While the oven is heating, bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the macaroni and cool until al dente, about 6 minutes. Note that if you’d like, you can perform this step in your multicooker using Sauté-then-Simmer STS®.
3. Strain the pasta, saving 1¾ cups of the pasta water; set both aside. If you used the mutlicooker to cook your pasta, rinse out and fully dry the inner pot then return it to the cooker.
4. Set your cooker for the Sauté-then-Simmer STS® function. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil, close the lid and let it heat briefly.
5. Add the mushrooms and cook with the lid open for about 5 minutes until lightly browned and starting to soften.
6. Add in the arugula, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
7. Cook while stirring with a long-handled wooden or heat safe spoon until the arugula is wilted but still a bright green, about 3 minutes.
8. Scoop out the mushroom mixture into a bowl and set aside.
9. Carefully remove the inner pot and rinse thoroughly then dry completely; return it to the cooker.
10. Again set your cooker for the Sauté-then-Simmer STS® function. Add the half-and-half and cayenne and bring it to a simmer with the lid open.
11. Once simmering, cook for about 15 minutes while stirring often until it has reduced by about 1 cup.
12. Switch the cooker to KEEP WARM and add the cream cheese, whisking until melted.
13. Whisk in the shredded cheddar and Gruyere until melted and the sauce is smooth.
14. Add in the macaroni and reserved pasta water; stir to combine.
15. Gently fold in the mushroom and arugula mixture. Mix until well combined.
16. Turn off the cooker and scoop the macaroni and cheese into the casserole dish.
17. In a separate bowl, mix the bread crumbs and remaining olive oil; sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and cheese.
18. Bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.