Lower Guilt Baked Broccoli Pasta & Cheese

 

IMG_3546.jpgThis is fairly low on the guilt level and I found it tastes even better warmed up! Comes together quickly. Great as a vegetarian main meal, side dish and a way to disguise broccoli – which is how my husband prefers it. Kid friendly comfort food. Inspired by Skinny Taste.

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Ingredients:

  • 12 oz elbow, shells or other twisty pasta (I used Trottole)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth (vegetarians use vegetable broth)
  • 2 cups reduced-fat sharp cheddar
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 12 oz fresh broccoli
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Smoked Paprika (optional)
  • cooking spray

Directions: 

Cook pasta and broccoli together in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions for al dente (or slightly under cook 2 minutes). Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter. Add flour and cook another minute, or until the flour is golden and well combined. Add milk and broth and whisk, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil; cook about 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large pot of water, Cut broccoli into florets and using a steamer cook for just a few minutes, not quite cooked. The original recipe did not call for it to be cooked so you could add the broccoli uncooked.

Once the sauce is thick, remove from heat, add cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked pasta and broccoli, mix well. Pour into prepared baking dish. Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray on top. Sprinkle with a bit of smoked paprika.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes to get the breadcrumbs golden.

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