CHEESY PASTA AND BROCCOLI BAKE
Fresh broccoli and a rich, cheesy sauce make this vegetarian pasta bake a deliciously comforting dinner dish. If you’re not a vegetarian, ring the changes by adding cooked chicken strips or bits of crispy bacon – or both!
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 40 minutes Serves: 6
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- ½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
- 1 head fresh broccoli, broken into florets
- 6 Tbsp (90 g) butter
- 6 Tbsp (90 ml) flour
- 4 cups (1 litre) milk
- ½ tsp (2.5 ml) nutmeg
- 4 tsp (20 ml) smooth mild mustard
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ cups (375 ml) grated Cheddar cheese, plus extra for topping
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp (5 ml) paprika
- 500 g Pasta Grandé Macaroni
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- 4 litres water
- Heat the oven to 190 °C.
- Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for about 4 minutes, or until just soft. Add the garlic and fry for one more minute, without letting it brown.
- Pour in the white wine, turn up the heat and bubble for 2-3 minutes, or until the wine has reduced by half. Set aside.
- Cook the broccoli in plenty of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, then plunge into cold water to ‘set’ the colour. Drain again. (See Papa Grandé’s Tips below for microwave instructions.)
- To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a separate heavy-based pot. Stir in the flour and cook over a medium heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the cold milk, all in one go, and cook until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly to prevent lumps forming. When the sauce comes to the boil, turn the heat right down and simmer for another 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat and add the nutmeg, mustard, parsley and cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To cook the pasta, bring the water and salt to a fast boil in a large pot. Add all the pasta in one go and stir to separate the pieces. Briefly cover the pot with a lid until the water comes back to a rapid boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring now and then, for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender (al dente).
- Drain the pasta in a big colander, then tip it back into the pot you boiled it in. Immediately add the onion/wine mixture, cooked broccoli and cheese sauce, and gently mix to combine.
- Tip into a large greased ovenproof dish. Sprinkle extra grated cheese on top and dust with paprika.
- Bake at 190 °C on the top shelf of the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden-brown and bubbling. Serve right away with a crisp salad of leafy greens.
- To microwave broccoli, place the florets in a large microwave-proof bowl, add 1 Tbsp water, cover, and microwave on High for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and plunge into cold water, as per Step 4, above.
- For an extra-luxurious bake, replace half a cup of milk with cream in the white sauce.
- Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top for a more indulgent topping.
- Other Pasta Grandé shapes you can use in this recipe: Gnocchi, Shells, Penne, Elbows and Screws.
Cheesy Pasta And Broccoli Bake
For an extra-luxurious bake, replace half a cup of milk with cream in the white sauce.