Broccoli Pasta Bake

Ingredients

1 Medium sized head of broccoli
3 ½ Cups of pasta ( I used fusilli )
3 Garlic gloves
10 Cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp Olive oil
2 ½ cups Béchamel Sauce
2 1/2 cups Mozzarella
A generous grating of parmesan cheese for the top
Salt & Pepper to taste

Béchamel Sauce

2 Cups whole milk
¼ Cup + 1 tbsp plain flour
3 1/2 tablespoons. butter
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

Make the béchamel sauce.

You can also use the packaged one, but in my opinion the homemade one is definitely better; I, of course, used my recipe below

Make the broccoli

Remove the leaves from the broccoli, cut off the large central stem then divide into florets, rinse under fresh running water and allow to drain.
Boil broccoli in salted water for about 10 minutes or until softened.
In the meantime, clean the garlic from the soul ( this will serve to make the garlic more digestible) and cut it into slices.
Wash the cherry tomatoes and dry them with a cloth ( so the oil does not splatter) and cut them in half.
In a high-sided frying pan, put olive oil, when hot add garlic and lightly brown.
Add the cherry tomatoes and cook them for about 3 minutes
At this point the broccoli we boiled earlier should be ready. Using a ladle skimmer, we pass the broccoli from the pot to the pan. Add salt and pepper and stir in the cherry tomatoes and let everything cook for about 10 minutes on low heat.

Cut the mozzarella into cubes.

Cook the pasta

In the water where you blanched the broccoli, toss the pasta and let it cook (you will need to drain it very al dente; it will finish cooking in the oven). About 5 minutes before the time indicated on the package, remove the pasta.
Preheat the oven to 190C/374F.

Make the bake pasta

After draining the pasta, in the same pot. Mix the pasta with the broccoli, béchamel sauce and diced mozzarella cheese.
Gently mix everything together, and place it in a high-sided baking dish.
Add a generous grating of parmesan cheese, this will make that magnificent golden crust in the pasta.
Place the dish in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
Serve piping hot.

Notes

I assure you that the garlic flavor will be very light, but if you really don’t like it, instead of slicing it, leave it whole, and remove it before mixing the broccoli with the pasta.
Pasta: I used fusilli, but you can use any short pasta you like, remember to cook it super al dente.

Enjoy !

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