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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: A treat for broccoli lovers

Thursday, October 19, 2000

Tested by Suzanne Martinson

Patty and Neal Scoratow of Squirrel Hill have nurtured the greatest of good eaters: two daughters who love broccoli.

Mix the cruciferous vegetable with macaroni and cheese and you have one of the family's favorite dinners. "We eat it probably once a week," says Patty, a registered nurse and a native of Bloomfield who is now a full-time homemaker. She enjoys taking Rachel, who will be 6 next week, and Jessica, 3, to the Carnegie Science Center, the zoo, lots of play dates and the park.

Patty says she eats more vegetables now than she did as a child. When she married her husband, a property manager who grew up in Squirrel Hill, she discovered he loved vegetables.

"Now I have two children who love broccoli," she says. "I can't even take credit for it -- I don't know why."

When she's stumped for dinner ideas, the name of Macaroni With Broccoli usually comes up. She serves it as the entree, usually with bagels or bread with perhaps some fruit for dessert. And that makes a really healthful meal.

She prefers fresh broccoli, which she usually cooks for four minutes in a steamer with a quarter-inch of water in her microwave. Sometimes, though, she substitutes a 1-pound bag of Birdseye broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. She steams that on top of the range, timing the vegetables and macaroni to be done at the same time. "Dinner's ready in 10 or 15 minutes."

It took us a little longer, because our watched water was slow to boil.

After tasting the dish, I don't wonder why fresh broccoli is a staple in the Scoratow home.

Macaroni With Broccoli

8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 bunch fresh broccoli
4 ounces grated Mexican cheese (she uses Sargento)
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare macaroni as directed. Cut broccoli florets from stem and steam on stovetop or microwave while the macaroni is cooking.

Drain macaroni and broccoli and combine with grated cheese. Stir and season to taste. Serve immediately with salad or fresh bagels. Recipe can be doubled.

Note: A variation on this dish can be made with a 1-pound package of Birdseye broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

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