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Asparagus And Swiss Macaroni And Cheese

Healthy Facts:

  • Whole-wheat pasta is packed with fiber and whole grains that keep you full and improve cholesterol levels
  • Vitamins A and K in asparagus help the body use vitamin D to its fullest
  • Calcium-loaded Swiss cheese is good for the bones

55 Min Cook Time |15 Min Prep Time | Serves 10|478 Calories per Serving


  • 1 dash kosher salt
  • 1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta noodles
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups vitamin D-fortified 1-percent milk
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • 4 cups raw asparagus, trimmed of bottom 2 inches and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup panko or regular bread

What You Need

  • 9″ x 13″ baking dish
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Colander
  • Large skillet
  • Whisk

How To Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Move the rack to the middle of the oven. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Bring 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the penne noodles and cook for 2 minutes less than the package directions indicate, stirring occasionally. Pasta will be slightly underdone.
  3. Use a measuring cup or ladle to remove 1/3 cup pasta water and set aside.
  4. Drain the pasta into a colander over the sink. Then place the pasta back in the pot and set aside.
  5. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  6. Add flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking constantly.
  7. Pour in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture starts to thicken, about 2 to 3 minutes. It will first have the consistency of heavy cream, then the consistency of pudding.
  8. Add the shredded cheese and whisk until smooth. The sauce will be very thick. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  9. Add asparagus, pasta, and reserved 1/3 cup pasta water to the cheese sauce and toss well.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to the prepared baking pan and top with a layer of the cheese slices.
  11. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 1-inch cubes.
  12. Sprinkle the panko over the cheese slices, and top with the remaining butter cubes.
  13. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crisp. The cheese sauce will cook the noodles further.
  14. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.