What’s green, creamy and packed with great flavor? It’s our newest take on pasta casserole, and this one is with broccoli. Broccoli casserole is great as a side or as a whole meal – and the kids won’t complain about eating more veggies! This savory delight needs just a few ingredients, many of which we already have in the pantry. Even better, prep time is pretty quick – just 10 minutes of prep – then pop it in the oven for an hour. The final result is a warm, colorful, and cheesy meal that is guaranteed to please. Our family already loves pasta and cheese, so all we do is add some broccoli to make a nutritious meal. Start making this masterpiece as soon as the kids get home from school, and it’s ready by dinnertime. Enjoy!
Broccoli Pasta Casserole
Serves 4-6; 1 hour 10 minutes
- 1 pound (1 large head of broccoli), cut into florets
- 4 tablespoons (or 1/2 stick) butter
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 4 cups pasta shells, cooked and drained
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and preheat oven to 350°F. Pour pasta shells into water and cook 10 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside. (Note: pasta should be slightly undercooked; it will finish cooking during the baking phase.)
- Steam or boil broccoli in a separate pot until just softened, around 5 minutes. Transfer both broccoli and pasta to an 8x8-inch baking dish.
- Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Sauté onion and garlic, stirring frequently to prevent burning, 5 minutes or until onion turns translucent.
- Add flour to mixture and whisk frequently to fully incorporate and cook out any flour flavor. Cook for 2 minutes before whisking in 1 cup of milk; allow sauce to thicken before adding vegetable broth and remaining 1 cup of milk.
- Increase heat to medium and simmer until sauce has visibly thickened. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, stirring to incorporate. (Note: dip a wooden spoon into sauce and run finger down center; if sauce holds (and doesn't run), it has reached desired consistency.)
- Pour creamy sauce over broccoli and pasta. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil after 20 minutes and add remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 more minutes.
- Serve warm. Add more cheese, salt and pepper to taste.