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When it comes to pasta bakes, I’m usually pretty unadventurous – favouring a simple tomato sauce and lumps of fresh mozzarella or the grated version. Cooked until the cheese top is golden and crisp.
Last night I decided we needed a bit of a shake up. Still featuring lots of cheese, of course, I made a cheesy broccoli pasta bake. So simple, and yet it tasted nicer than I thought it would.
Heat your oven up to about 180 – 200°C. Cut the broccoli up into bite-sized pieces. Pop a pan of water onto boil and add your pasta.
You want to just undercook the pasta (it carries on cooking in the oven), and add the broccoli for the last few minutes to cook a little. Drain the pasta and the broccoli.
While the pasta is cooking, make a cheese sauce. I use equal amounts of butter and flour to make a roux, then add hot milk a bit at a time, and stir like mad with a whisk to keep it smooth. Bring to the boil and keep whisking – this was my job when I was growing up.
Add lots of grated mature Cheddar to the sauce and stir in until melted. Pour the cheese sauce over the drained pasta and broccoli and mix together.
Put the whole lot into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over an extra bit of grated cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and bubbling.
I would pop this firmly in the category of ‘Comfort Food’. Good for cold wintery nights or when you’re feeling low. This is food that hugs you.
It seems unlikely that I’ll be making cheese this year. Perhaps not one for my New Year’s Resolution list, with barely enough time to do all the things I’ve already committed myself to, I think cheese making will stay firmly as a long term ‘to do’.
I have, however, been enjoying reading this blog by somebody who does have the time to make homemade cheese – and I’m extremely jealous. I can also dream of the day when I might have the time…!
If, unlike me, you have plenty of time to spare, and cheesemaking takes your fancy, this blog is the place to start. They’ve been making everything from blue cheese to ricotta, Cheddar to halloumi, and even Camembert style cheese! Plus they give loads of details on how to do it yourself.
Image: the handyface blog