Some people love cake. Some love pie. In our house, we love pasta bakes. Call us carb-o-holics, but we just can’t say no to ooey gooey, hot-from-the-oven cheesy pasta. So when this Macaroni-and-Veggie Bake from the Kid-Friendly plan turned up from one of our recipe developers, we knew we were in for a treat.
The best thing about this pasta bake is that it isn’t too heavy. The trick is in the sauce. The starch from the pasta’s cooking liquid helps to thicken the sauce without the need for added cream or milk. The result is a light sauce that doesn’t overpower your palette with each bite. We loved the burst of flavor from the whole grape tomatoes, but you could easily cut them in half or substitute another veggie. One the vegetables are coated in the melty cheese sauce, your kids will have no problem gobbling them up. For the pretty photo above, we used a large oven-safe skillet from Le Creuset, but you can use any 13- x 9-size baking dish that you have available. Toss a quick salad together, slice up some French bread, and dinner is served.
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 31/2 tablespoons flour
- 21/2 cups milk
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour, and cook 1 minute. Gradually whisk in reserved pasta water and milk; cook, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in broccoli, both cheeses, salt and pepper until cheeses melt; add pasta and tomatoes.
- Pour mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.