Photo Source: Cheddar, Broccoli and Pasta Bake by desertculinary, on Flickr">
Creamy Pasta Bake
A versatile pasta bake for the family and guests; and this recipe can even be made ahead and frozen for extra convenience. Serves 6 – 8 persons
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
500g dried pasta
350g broccoli , in small florets
75g plain flour
a little freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp mustard powder
small bunch parsley , roughly chopped
200g cheese , grated (cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyère, or a mixture)
1) Bring the milk, garlic and bay leaves to the boil in a small saucepan, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse. Cook the pasta to al dente following pack instructions (if you're freezing, cook for 1 min less), adding the broccoli for the final 2 mins. Drain.
2) Strain the milk into a jug. Heat the butter in the pan until foaming then stir in the flour for 1 min. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring or whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Bubble for 1-2 mins, stirring constantly until you have a thick, lump-free sauce.
3) Remove from the heat and stir in some nutmeg, the mustard powder, parsley, three-quarters of the cheese and seasoning. Combine with the pasta and broccoli and transfer to one large, or individual, heatproof dishes. Scatter over the remaining cheese and cool and freeze for up to three months, or heat the grill to high and cook for 2-3 mins until golden and bubbling. If frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight, then cook at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 30-40 mins until piping hot.