Broccoli, Shells and Cheese

photo and recipe from Budget Bytes
8 oz. pasta
1 crown of broccoli
1/2 med onion, finely diced
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2.5 cups milk
8 oz. (2 cups) sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
to taste salt and pepper
Get a large pot of salted water on to boil. Rinse the broccoli well and cut it into small florets. The pasta and broccoli will be cooked in the same pot to save on dishes and time. When the water comes to a full boil, add the pasta. Set a timer for 8 minutes then add the broccoli. Cook the pasta and broccoli for two minutes more and then pour everything into a colander to drain. Set them aside until ready to add to the cheese sauce.
While the pasta and broccoli are doing their thing, you can begin the cheese sauce. Cook onion with butter over medium heat until softened (about 2-3 minutes). Add the flour to the butter and onion. The flour and butter will form a paste like mixture (roux). Using a whisk, stir and cook the roux for 1-2 minutes more taking care not to let it scorch. This slightly cooks the flour preventing the cheese sauce from having an overly flour or paste like flavor.
Add the milk and whisk well to dissolve all of the flour clumps. Add freshly cracked black pepper at this point. Bring the mixture up to a simmer (you may need to raise the heat just slightly). When the sauce reaches a simmer, it will begin to thicken. When it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, it's time to add the cheese. Whisk in the shredded cheese and parmesan until it is fully melted in. Give the cheese sauce a taste and add salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Once you have the cheese sauce seasoned to your liking, stir in the cooked and drained pasta and broccoli.

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