Who doesn’t love pasta?! I’ve always had this thing for pasta. Pasta was on the menu about four days out of seven in our house growing up. Bow ties with butter and garlic salt, spaghetti and meat sauce, and my all-time favorite, blue box mac and cheese! Did anyone else grow up eating lots and lots of pasta?! As I got older, I still always had this thing for blue box mac and cheese, and even still to this day when I’m sick and feeling lazy, I crave it!
But now there is a new blue box in my life… enter Banza Pasta with their White Mac & Cheese and in a blue box! Banza’s pasta is a real health upgrade from regular pasta because they are made with chickpeas instead of flour! This pasta has 2x the protein, 4x the fiber, and nearly half the net carbs of regular pasta, meaning you can make every night pasta night with zero guilt. Banza asked me to get a little creative in the kitchen (after all this is one of my goals for the year to cook old-time classic favorites but in a healthier way) and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity!
As a kid one of my favorite mac and cheese add-ins was… wait for it… a cut-up hot dog (gah so gross thinking about that now but hey I was young, thank god for evolving taste buds) and now because I have a little more class as a 30-year old I love adding in fresh ground spicy chicken sausage from Whole Foods into my mac and cheese! The subtle spice and the white cheese sauce mixed with the pasta is just the perfect combo in my opinion. Comfort food reimagined over here and I’m really digging it.
I obviously couldn’t create a recipe that is supposed to be a complete meal without some greens though and in comes the broccoli, one of my least favorite greens as a child but one of my current favorites as a 30-year-old. Not only does the addition of the broccoli brighten up the dish, it makes it much more filling and tastes pretty delish! You could also easily sub out the broccoli for asparagus, spinach, or green peas and it would be equally as delicious!
What were some of your favorite ways to eat pasta as a kid?! Am I alone in the cut-up hot dog in my mac and cheese? I hope not!
Spicy Chicken & Broccoli White Mac & Cheese
1 box of Banza Elbows with White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
2 spicy chicken sausage links (I buy mine from the Butcher counter at Whole Foods)
1 cup of broccoli florets (or sub any other green veggie – spinach, asparagus, peas, broccolini, etc!)
2 tbsp grass-fed unsalted butter
1/4 cup of unsweetened milk of choice
panko breadcrumbs, to taste
1 tbsp shredded mozzarella
salt & pepper, to taste
Set oven to broil. Begin by chopping the broccoli into small florets, not too small but not too big either, and set aside. Then place a large pot of water on the stove and wait for the water to boil. While you wait for your water to boil, brown the chicken sausage in a separate pan. Once browned set aside on paper towels to drain.
When the pot of water is boiling add in the Banza Elbows and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. During the last few minutes of the pasta cooking add in the chopped broccoli florets and stir in with the pasta. Once the pasta and broccoli are cooked to your liking (about 5-6 minutes), strain the pasta and broccoli.
Transfer the elbows and broccoli to a big bowl and add in the butter and milk of choice, stir to combine. Then add in the cheese packet and mix again. Once combined, add in the chicken sausage and stir again.
Transfer to two small ramekin baking dishes or one larger one and top with panko bread crumbs and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Place under broiler for 3 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and enjoy it immediately!
Have any of you tried Banza Pasta?! I love seeing you recreate my food creations on Instagram! Make sure to tag me @fittybritttty and use the hashtag #fittybrittttyEATS on Instagram so I can see how you #DressUpYourMac!