- SERVES 4
- HANDS-ON TIME 30 MIN, OVEN TIME 20-25 MIN
This vegetarian pasta bake recipe is fast enough for midweek cooking. It’s the ultimate comfort food for chilly nights.
- 300g macaroni
- 200g tender stem broccoli, cut into thirds
- 50ml light olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 50g plain flour
- 550ml milk (whole or demi-ecreme)
- 100g spinach
- 60g vintage cheddar, grated
- 60g gruyère cheese, grated (or vegetarian alternative)
- 40g fresh breadcrumbs
- Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 minutes or until it still has some bite (al dente). For the last 2 minutes add the broccoli, then drain and rinse under cold water to refresh. Cover with damp kitchen paper.
- Meanwhile, in another large deep saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and gently fry for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the flour, turn up the heat slightly and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, until the flour turns a little darker and smells biscuity.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/gas 6. Turn the heat to low, then slowly add the milk, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk. Turn the heat to medium and stir until the mix thickens and boils gently. Add the spinach and half the grated cheeses. Stir until the spinach wilts and the cheese melts.
- Add the pasta and broccoli, season to taste, then pour into a 1.5-liter ovenproof dish (see make-ahead). Mix the rest of the cheese with the breadcrumbs, then use to top the macaroni. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is deep golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Serve with a sharply dressed green salad, if you like.
Chill unbaked, without the topping, for up to 2 days or freeze, well wrapped in cling film, for up to 1 month. Defrost, add the topping, then bake.