Cheesy Broccoli and Leek Pasta Bake

A perfect mid-winter comfort meal.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups small dried pasta shapes such as shells, macaroni, spirals or bowties
  • 2 medium heads broccoli, cut into small florets
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • 1 medium leek, halved and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 cup grated melting cheese such as gruyere
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the broccoli and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender.
  3. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Bring the water back to the boil, add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  4. Warm a large pan over a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil and the butter. Add garlic, thyme and leek and cook, stirring for 3-5 minutes or until garlic is fragrant and leek becomes soft. Add broccoli and cook a further minute or so. Deglaze the pan with a splash dry white wine if you happen to have some nearby.
  5. Turn down heat to low, add mustard, nutmeg, creme fraiche and 1/2 cup of Gruyere or other melting cheese. Stir to form a smooth cheesy sauce and season with salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  6. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium sized casserole or baking dish.
  7. In a small bowl mix remaining grated Gruyere, Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle topping over the pasta mix and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
  8. Serve with a side salad and toasted pine nuts for some extra crunch and protein.

 

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