Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

midweek meals: Cheesy broccoli pasta bake

on March 15, 2011

I found this on the BBC good food website and made it in the space of 30 minutes – max, when I got home from the gym last night.  I was absolutely starving, in need of some carbs and food fast.  This fit the bill perfectly. And in fact, it was so perfect, I’d eaten most of it before I realised in my haste I’d forgotten to take any photos – sorry about that.  There’s a nice one on the BBC good food website though….in fact you can see it here

It’s not a real bake because you don’t actually bake it.  You make all the bits that go in it first and then you just shove it under the grill for a few minutes to melt the cheese.  Not having children I couldn’t definitely say, but I reckon this would be a favourite with children (providing they like brocolli).  There’s no tomatoes or weird meat or anything that they could really object to plus there’s grilled cheese- what’s not to love?!

Well regardless of children and their eating habits – it was a hit with me and my husband so I’m quite happy.  It’s probably not one for the dieters, unless its your day off dieting in which case you can indulge in some cheese and pasta without feeling too guilty – it won’t suddenly appear on your hips the next day.  At 667 calories (according to the website) it’s not ‘too bad’.  It’s also vege friendly and good for those adverse to spiciness and after a more mild and subtle taste.   Although it’s not any good for the glutein and lactose intolerant or the vegans.  Well you can please everyone all the time…

Of course, I couldn’t just leave a recipe be, I had to improve it.  I added wine to the sauce (before the milk) and some peppercorns to the milk and left out the mustard (we’ve run out…plus I was after a subtle taste tonight).  But on the whole, that’s not too many changes for me…if you want the original, look at the link, or if you’d rather use mine, here it is.  I assure you, it was delicious.

Cheesy broccoli pasta bake

Serves 2

  • 150g pasta shapes
  • 1/2 head of broccoli cut into florets (around 150-200g)
  • 200ml milk
  • 1 garlic clove, bashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 75-80ml white wine
  • salt & pepper
  • 50g grated cheddar, or 30g cheddar and 20g mozzarella sliced.
  1. boil the pasta according to the packet instructions.  Add the broccoli florets in the final 3-4 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the grill to a high setting.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a pan with the garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns.  Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave to infuse.  When it’s cooled, strain and reserve the milk.
  4. Heat the butter in a pan.  When its melted and frothy, add the onion and fry until softened but not browned.  Then add the flour and mix well.  Cook for a minute.
  5. Then add the wine to the mixture, let it bubble and form a sticky mixture with the flour.
  6. Add the milk a bit at a time, incorporating the flour mix into it, until you make a sauce.  Bring to the boil and simmer until you have the desired amount of thickness.  Add seasoning to taste.
  7. Turn the pasta & broccoli into the pan and mix well with the mixture.  Turn it all into an ovenproof dish and top with the cheese.  Place under the grill to melt the cheese and form brown spots.
  8. Serve immediately and feel those hunger pangs subside.

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