this broccoli & cheddar pasta bake takes the amazing flavor of your favorite broccoli cheddar soup and combines it with pasta for an easy weeknight meal that even kids will gobble up!
- 1 lb. whole wheat pasta (shells, rotini or penne)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 –3 cups whole milk (more as needed for desired consistency)
- 4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (see note)
- 2–3 cups broccoli florets, cooked
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Optional (as needed): arrowroot powder or cornstarch for thickening, fresh parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a hefty pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil followed by pasta. Cook according to package instructions, or until al dente.
- Meanwhile, cook broccoli according to preference (steamed, boiled, roasted)
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add garlic and shallot, whisking to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Whisk in flour and nutmeg, cooking for ~1 minute while continuously whisking.
- Slowly whisk in milk until slightly thickened. Add arrowroot or cornstarch 1 tablespoons at a time as needed to thicken.
- Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring until it’s melted. Add salt & pepper as desired.
- Stir in cooked pasta and cooked broccoli. Add mixture to prepared baking sheet.
- In a separate bowl, melt 1-2 tablespoons butter and add breadcrumbs, mixing well. Spread evenly over the top of the pasta and bake for 25-30 minutes or until just browned. If breadcrumbs are resistant to browning, place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes (watching closing to ensure they don’t burn!).
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve.
- Pasta will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Don’t buy pre-shredded cheese as it has anti-caking agents that prevent it from melting well.
Keywords: dinner, pasta, broccoli and cheese, vegetarian