Cheese/ Hearty Dinners/ Pasta

Broccoli Pasta Bake

July 8, 2018 (Last Updated: September 4, 2021) by Chris Collins

This Broccoli Pasta Bake recipe will change the way you make pasta bake forever. Here I also show you how to prep and cook broccoli in the most delicious way imaginable!

If you’re after a simple yet incredibly tasty pasta bake recipe to add to your rotations, look no further. This pasta celebrates broccoli in the most delicious way possible! Follow me…

Broccoli Pasta Bake fresh out the oven with serving spoon digging in

Roasted Broccoli Pasta Bake

Creamy cheesy goodness topped with a crunchy pasta bake topping, loaded with broccoli. Yep, broccoli. See, I do use vegetables on this blog! 😜

Look I’ll be honest with you here, I never used to be a massive fan of broccoli. I kinda made it my mission to fall in love with it because I knew I was missing out. Turns out I’ve been cooking it wrong all these years. So classic vegetable pasta bakes that include broccoli just chuck the florets in the water to cook with the boiling pasta right?

Wrong.

When I tell you that roasting broccoli will change your entire outlook on life, I’m not exaggerating.

Why roast the broccoli?

  • Beats Boiling – When you boil broccoli it tends to soak up and cling on to water. It then releases it when baked, resulting in a slightly watery sauce.
  • Flavour – The caramelization you get from roasting broccoli just can’t be beaten by boiling/steaming!
  • Extra Goodies – You can add in extra goodies in the roasting dish! Here I add red onion.

No more having an explosion of water in your mouth from where the broccoli florets soaked it all up. Just some beautifully crisp and tender broccoli, seasoned with salt, pepper and onion. YUM.

Process shots: dice broccoli and add to baking dish (photo 1), add sliced red onion (photo 2), combine with salt & pepper and olive oil (photo 3), roast until fork tender/lightly charred (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing how to roast broccoli

Cheesy Broccoli Pasta

Is a pasta bake really a pasta bake if you’ve not thrown in copious amounts of cheese? I mean, certainly not in my books anyway!

Best cheese for broccoli pasta bake?

Here I use Gruyere and Cheddar. Gruyere has got a gorgeous sweet and nutty flavour to it which pairs beautifully with creamy sauces AND broccoli.

Can I sub more Cheddar?

Cheddar broccoli pasta is a popular combo, so if for whatever reason you don’t have/want Gruyere just stick with cheddar. I recommend a good quality sharp cheddar for maximum flavour.

What kind of Pasta to use?

I LOVE Rigatoni for this recipe. The creamy sauce fills the middle of the pasta beautifully. In reality though you can use most kinds of short cut pasta though.

Process shots: add butter and garlic to pan (photo 1), melt (photo 2), stir in flour (photo 3), whisk in milk and veg stock then add nutmeg and wholegrain mustard (photo 4), add cheese (photo 5), add broccoli/onion (photo 6), add pasta (photo 7), stir to combine (photo 8).

8 step by step photos showing how to make cheesy broccoli pasta

BEST Broccoli Pasta Bake

From there, it’s oven time. The pasta will be delicious as it is, but baking it in the oven is an absolute game changer!

Tips for the best broccoli pasta bake

  1. Al dente – It’s crucial to only just cook your pasta. If you cook it to packet instruction, by the time you’ve finished baking it’s gonna be waaaaaay too soft.
  2. Topping – As far as I’m concerned, a pasta bake ain’t a pasta bake unless it’s got a crispy, crunchy top. A sprinkle of breadcrumbs, a good few sprays of olive oil and some seasoning should do the trick.
  3. Bake, not Broil – I know it sounds obvious, but make sure you give it a good 20mins in the oven. It’s way too tempting to chuck it under the grill or give it a quick bake, but the difference is huge. The way the cheese clings to the pasta and the topping goes golden is just too good to miss out on.

Process shots: add pasta to baking dish (photo 1), cover with breadcrumbs, spray with oil then bake (photo 2).

2 step by step photos showing how to make broccoli pasta bake

close up overhead shot of broccoli pasta bake fresh out the oven showing filling

Serving Broccoli Pasta Bake

I usually let it sit for a few mins for the bubbling to calm down, otherwise you risk taking the roof of your mouth off 🥵. This will offer 4 big portions or 5 smaller ones. I tend to serve it as it is because it’s so hearty!

If you’re looking for more pasta bakes recipes then definitely check out my Veggie Pasta Bake, Chicken Pasta Bake, Taco Pasta Bake and Meatball Pasta Bake!

For more similar recipe check out these beauties:

Delicious recipes using broccoli

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this broccoli pasta bake recipe shall we?!

Broccoli Pasta Bake on fork close up to camera

How to make Broccoli Pasta Bake (Full Recipe & Video)

Broccoli Pasta Bake with serving spoon

Broccoli Pasta Bake

This Broccoli Pasta Bake recipe will change the way you make pasta bake forever. Here I also show you how to prep and cook broccoli in the most delicious way imaginable!
5 from 6 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Calories per serving: 465kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50

Equipment:

  • Large Deep Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • 9" x 9" Casserole Dish (or similar size)
  • Large Pot & Colander
  • Jug (for stock)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Cheese Grater
  • Whisk

Ingredients (check list):

  • 300g / 10.6oz Rigatoni, (or short cut pasta of choice)
  • 2 cups / 500ml Milk, at room temp
  • 1 cup / 250ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 cup / 100g Gruyere, grated
  • 1 cup / 100g Cheddar, grated
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 1 medium sized head of Broccoli, sliced into bite sized florets (weight of broccoli approx 12oz/350g before diced)
  • 1 small-medium Red Onion, peeled & sliced into strips
  • 1 clove of Garlic, peeled & finely diced
  • 1 tbsp Wholegrain Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 slice of Bread, pulsed into crumbs (see notes)
  • Olive Oil/Oil Spray, as needed
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  • Add broccoli and onion to baking dish with a good drizzle of oil and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper. Use your hands to combine, then roast in the oven for 15-20mins, or until the broccoli is lightly charred and fork tender. Give it a mix half way.
  • Meanwhile, place pasta in salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Pasta should be a touch hard still, if it's fully cooked it'll come out sloppy when baked.
  • Add butter and garlic to a large pan over medium heat. Stir in flour until a paste forms, then gradually add in milk, whisking as you go to avoid lumps. Whisk in veg stock and simmer for a few mins until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Stir in mustard, nutmeg and a good pinch of salt and pepper, then add in the broccoli/onion. Add in cheese then stir in drained pasta. Pour everything back into the baking dish and level off with a wooden spoon.
  • Top with breadcrumbs and more salt and pepper, then liberally spray with oil. Bake in the oven for 20mins, or until the breadcrumbs and golden all across the top.

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Gruyere - Gruyere has a gorgeous sweet and nutty twang to it, which works perfectly in this recipe. You'll find it in nearly all supermarkets/grocery stores. If you don't have it/want to use it, you can sub more cheddar. Do use it though if you can!
b) Al dente pasta - Like mentioned in the method, you want to boil the pasta until it's just al dente. Anymore and it'll turn sloppy when baking.
c) Breadcrumbs - Best to use bread that's ever-so-slightly stale and pulse it in a food processor. If you have ready made breadcrumbs (extra points for Panko) just use them. Just a light coating to cover the pasta, but not so much it soaks up all the sauce.
d) Calories - based on using 1 tbsp worth of olive oil to coat the broccoli/onions:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Broccoli Pasta Bake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 465 Calories from Fat 214
% Daily Value*
Fat 23.74g37%
Saturated Fat 12.97g65%
Trans Fat 0.054g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.58g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.52g
Cholesterol 67mg22%
Sodium 507mg21%
Potassium 675mg19%
Carbohydrates 41.54g14%
Fiber 8.2g33%
Sugar 6.91g8%
Protein 24.54g49%
Vitamin A 3650IU73%
Vitamin C 151mg183%
Calcium 670mg67%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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If you plan on making the Broccoli Pasta Bake then be sure to Pin it for later! Already made it or got a burning question? Give me a shout in the comments below and pick up your free ecookbook along the way!

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