Mac 'n' Trees from New School Cuisine
A few years ago, Vermont FEED, our farm to school partnership project with NOFA-VT, published a first-of-its-kind cookbook for school nutrition professionals. New School Cuisine: Nutritious and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks includes 78 kid-tested and approved recipes scaled for school cafeterias.
It wasn’t long after publication that school nutrition staff and educators were asking, “Can I get that recipe in family-size portions?” Now that we’re relying on our own kitchens and cooking even more, it’s the perfect opportunity to share a few adapted recipes from this well-loved school meal resource.
Our Farm to School work has always had a strong focus on the cafeteria, which we often call the biggest classroom in the school building. Today’s crisis has shone a light on the incredible work done by school nutrition staff. When schools closed their doors, they had less than a week to completely reimagine their distribution models and keep students fed and nourished. And they did it. This work has always been happening behind the scenes — so give a little “cheers” to your community’s school nutrition program while you get in the kitchen with your family to make this recipe developed by school chefs.
Thank you to Shelburne Farms Inn Executive Chef John Patterson for the recipe conversion!
Mac ‘n’ Trees
From New School Cuisine, makes 4–6 servings
- 1 cup broccoli
- 2 T kosher salt
- 4 oz whole-wheat macaroni
- 16 oz milk
- 1 oz enriched all-purpose flour
- ½ t ground mustard seed
- ½ t paprika
- pinch ground black pepper
- 1 oz salted butter
- 1 t garlic powder
- 1 t onion powder
- 1 t Worcestershire sauce
- ½ lb shredded cheddar cheese
- grated Parmesan cheese
- Bread crumbs to top if you’d like
- Trim broccoli and cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Bring water and salt to a boil in a large stockpot.
- Cook pasta for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli to blanche, and cook until the pasta is slightly underdone, about 2 minutes more. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- Warm milk in a large pot over low heat.
- Whisk together flour, the salt, mustard, paprika, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Melt butter in a large stockpot over low heat. Increase heat to medium. Whisk in the flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Do not brown. Slowly whisk the warm milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, Cheddar and Parmesan. Cook, stirring, until the cheeses are melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and broccoli stir to combine. Spread evenly into a medium sized oven proof dish.
- Spray underside of sheets of foil with cooking spray and tightly cover the pans.
- Bake in a convection oven for 25 minutes or conventional oven for 30 minutes.