Macaroni and Trees with Warm Cinnamon Pear Compote

Macaroni and Trees with Warm Cinnamon Pear Compote

Macaroni and Trees

salt for pasta water, plus 1/2 tsp more for cheese sauce
4 cups broccoli florettes
8 oz Tri-Color Fusilli (about half bag)
3 TB unsalted butter
2 TB all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
pinch black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Warm Cinnamon Pear Compote

2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup organic apple juice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
2 tsp butter (optional)
1 TB cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
black pepper
To prepare the Macaroni and Trees
Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add broccoli, return to a boil and cook, uncovered, until al dente, about 4 minutes. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon, leaving the water in the pot. Boil the pasta in the reserved water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook gently for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring milk mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat, and cook for about 5 minutes until mixture thickens. Stir in two thirds of the cheese. When the cheese is melted, remove saucepan from heat and set aside.

In 2 quart, ovenproof dish, combine the pasta with two-thirds of the cheese sauce. Add the broccoli to the remaining cheese sauce in the saucepan. Encircle the pasta in the dish with a border of the broccoli. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and broil for about 3 minutes, until cheese begins to bubble.

To prepare compote
Combine pears, raisins, apple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter in a small saucepan. Cook, uncovered over medium heat, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar and black pepper and continue to cook about 5 more minutes until juice is reduced and pears begin to fall apart. Cool 5 minutes. Serve on the side with Macaroni and Trees.

Serves 4

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