Macaroni and Broccoli Bake
This pasta bake is delicious, I recommend making a few and freezing some extra portions. You can then just bake the frozen gratins, when you need supper on the table fast (we all have those days). If you use a ceramic dish, just remember to defrost in your fridge for 24 hours before baking, as a rapid change in temperature may crack your dish.
I add broccoli and cauliflower florets. Depending on the age of the children you are cooking for you can break these up into tiny florets, or larger ones. Just ensure that the pasta and vegetable florets are sized in a way that is not a choking hazard for smaller children. The herby topping is a winner and since using it for this recipe I have been using it on lots of other dishes too. I hope you will agree.
150g macaroni pasta
300g mixture of broccoli/ cauliflower florets
30g unsalted butter
30g plain flour
350ml milk (of your choice)
1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1/2 teaspoon mustard (optional)
a few grinds of black pepper (optional)
90g cheddar cheese
Crunchy Herb Topping ~
2 slices of bread
20g fresh parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven 180C fan oven
Cook the macaroni, according to the packet instructions (less 1 minute so al dente). Cook the broccoli and cauliflower florets for 2-3 mins (cooked but crunchy). Drain the pasta and vegetables.
For the cheese sauce ~ take a pot melt the butter, add the flour and combine into a paste. Cook out for 1-2 mins, next add the milk (room temperature) and whisk continually. Slowly add the milk to the flour and butter mix), to form a white sauce. Once all the milk is incorporated, you should have a glossy white sauce. Take off the heat. Add the flavourings (optional): paprika, mustard, black pepper and cheddar cheese. Combine through the sauce.
Fold the pasta, broccoli and cauliflower through the sauce. Pour the pasta, vegetables and cheese sauce into an oven proof dish (es)
To make the topping ~ blitz the bread, parsley and olive oil in a blender: top the pasta bakes
Cook in a hot oven: for 20 mins approx until bubbling and cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool, the bake is now ready to serve. There are plenty of vegetables in the gratin but this is lovely served alongside with a crunchy side salad.