I seem to prefer baked pasta dishes to stove top ones. My baked mac and cheese is pretty phenomenal, although my stove top shrimp broccoli fettuccine is also hard to beat. This pasta bake incorporates broccoli and mushroom and whole wheat torsade or fusilli pasta.Going whole wheat is optional, but I have found that whole anything (from wheat to brown rice) is just so much more flavorsome that the white versions. Add a healthy dose of cheese, and you’ve got yourself set up for one comforting meal.
2 1/2 cups milk
1 garlic clove, bashed
1 bay leaf
250g dried pasta
250g fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 small head broccoli, in small florets
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp plain flour
a little freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
Bring the milk, garlic and bay leaf to the boil in a small saucepan, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse.
Cook the pasta to al dente following pack instructions, adding the broccoli for the final 2 minutes.
Drain, reserving a cup or so of the boiling liquid.
Heat the butter in the pan until foaming then saute the mushrooms until cooked.
Stir in the flour for 1 min. Add the strained milk a little at a time, stirring or whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Bubble for 1-2 mins, stirring constantly until you have a thick, lump-free sauce.
Remove from the heat and stir in some nutmeg, grated cheddar cheese and seasoning.
Combine with the pasta and broccoli with the milk sauce. If it’s too thick, lighten it with the reserved pasta water.
Transfer to one large, or individual, heatproof dishes.
Scatter over the mozarella cheese and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.