I have been doing a lot of casserole-type dishes lately. I like the idea of combining everything in one pot for a complete meal. Casseroles do not help to cut down on dishwashing 🙁 but they are a great way to introduce all kind of vegetables in your child’s diet because the the cheesy sauce masks otherwise strong flavors.

If your kids are not fans of mixed dishes ( and mine certainly were not as toddlers), I would serve the “deconstructed” version of this pasta broccoli casserole. For this, you would need to serve cooked pasta, cooked broccoli and cheese sauce in separate bowls. You could also use ramekins instead of regular plates and encourage your family members to create their own versions of casserole that could be placed under the broiler for a minute or two for a nice crust.  I love this idea so much that next time I may put out a selection of vegetables, maybe some meat or chicken and starch like pasta and rice and turn it into “Make your own casserole” night. Stay tuned!

In the meanwhile, I hope you will try this recipe. I literally had to snap the picture before it was all gone. Needless to say, I will be cooking this cheese pasta broccoli casserole again pretty soon!

Broccoli and pasta with cheese

Cheesy pasta broccoli casserole (adapted from www.blueapron.com)

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 ounces of  whole grain pasta (I used elbows but rotini or any shape will work)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk ( I used 2%)
  • 4 ounces Gouda or cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 medium head broccoli, chopped into very small pieces (about 1/4 inch)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Heat water in a big pot and cook the pasta according to the instructions. Drain the pasta.
  • While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a wide frying pan and add the garlic. Cook for a minute or two until aromatic.
  • Add the flour. Cook on medium heat, until the mixture becomes one shade darker, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add one cup of the milk to the mixture and mix together using a whisk. When all the lumps are gone, add the rest of the milk and cook on low heat, stirring all the time, until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in the cheese and season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  • Add the broccoli and cook for a couple of minutes until it softens a little but is still bright green.
  • Add the pasta and mix well with the cheese sauce.
  • Sprinkle parmesan on the top of the casserole and bake for 10 minutes, until golden on the top.
  • Serve with some green salad or plain steamed vegetables.
  • Enjoy!

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