Marcus Samuelsson's penchant for Southern American-African-Swedish fusion cuisine always makes him an interesting chef to watch. His recipe for Mac and Greens, adapted in Ellen Brown's Mac & Cheese, fits right into his oeuvre.
The recipe title is apt, as his mac contains just as much greenery as pasta. Braised collards and bok choy pair perfectly with the gooey cheddar-gruyère-parmesan mix, and the hints of soy and coconut lend rich depth. Green as it may be, this is no health food; there's bacon, heavy cream, and plenty of cheese in each and every nook and cranny. All of these components make for a long, complicated recipe, but it's worth the effort (just don't start cooking at 7 p.m. on a Wednesday).
Why I picked this recipe: The addition of collards, bok choy, and coconut milk set this multifaceted mac apart from the crowd.
What worked: The ingredient list may seem long and scattered, but each element works in complete harmony.
What didn't: It was almost impossible to stir the clumpy cooked shredded greens into the thick sauce. Next time, I'd chop instead of shred. (This'll make the dish easier to serve and eat as well.)
Suggested tweaks: If this time-consuming recipe seems overwhelming, I'd suggest making the dish in steps. You can cook the greens and make the topping one day, the cheese sauce and pasta on another, and then assemble and bake on the third.