Cheesy Broccoli Baked Pasta with Thyme Breadcrumbs

Cheesy Broccoli Baked Pasta

with Thyme Breadcrumbs

50 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

In tonight’s crowd-pleasing baked pasta, the classic duo of broccoli and cheese is combined with spirals of fusilli bucati. For layers of flavor, we’re making a delectable cheese sauce with sharp cheddar, then folding in the pasta and roasted broccoli. Added just before baking, a layer of breadcrumbs mixed with woodsy thyme completes the dish with crispy texture.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    690 Cals (est.)
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fresh
ingredients
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tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the bottom 1/2 inch of the broccoli stem. Cut the broccoli into small pieces. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Grate the cheddar cheese on the large side of a box grater. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Grate the Pecorino cheese on the small side of a box grater.

Roast the broccoli:
2 Roast the broccoli:

Place the broccoli on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange in an even layer. Roast 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Leaving the oven on, remove the roasted broccoli from the oven.

Cook the pasta:
3 Cook the pasta:

While the broccoli roasts, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water; cook 8 to 9 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and set aside in a warm place.

Make the cheese sauce:
4 Make the cheese sauce:

While the broccoli continues to roast, in the same pot, heat the butter on medium-high until melted. Add the garlic and flour. Cook, whisking constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until golden brown and fragrant. Add the milk and pasta cooking water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, whisking frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Reduce the heat to low and add the cheddar cheese. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until melted and thoroughly combined. Turn off the heat. (If the sauce seems too thick, stir in up to 2 tablespoons of water to achieve your desired consistency.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Finish the pasta & season the breadcrumbs:
5 Finish the pasta & season the breadcrumbs:

Add the roasted broccoli and cooked pasta to the pot of cheese sauce. Stir to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a baking dish. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, thyme, and half the Pecorino cheese. Stir in enough olive oil to moisten the mixture; season with salt and pepper. Evenly top the finished pasta with the seasoned breadcrumbs.

Bake the casserole & serve your dish:
6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish:

Bake the finished pasta, rotating the baking dish halfway through, 9 to 11 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly around the edges. Remove from the oven; immediately top with a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining Pecorino cheese. Let stand at least 2 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the bottom 1/2 inch of the broccoli stem. Cut the broccoli into small pieces. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Grate the cheddar cheese on the large side of a box grater. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Grate the Pecorino cheese on the small side of a box grater.

2 Roast the broccoli:

Place the broccoli on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange in an even layer. Roast 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Leaving the oven on, remove the roasted broccoli from the oven.

Roast the broccoli:
Cook the pasta:
3 Cook the pasta:

While the broccoli roasts, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water; cook 8 to 9 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and set aside in a warm place.

4 Make the cheese sauce:

While the broccoli continues to roast, in the same pot, heat the butter on medium-high until melted. Add the garlic and flour. Cook, whisking constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until golden brown and fragrant. Add the milk and pasta cooking water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, whisking frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Reduce the heat to low and add the cheddar cheese. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until melted and thoroughly combined. Turn off the heat. (If the sauce seems too thick, stir in up to 2 tablespoons of water to achieve your desired consistency.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Finish the pasta & season the breadcrumbs:
5 Finish the pasta & season the breadcrumbs:

Add the roasted broccoli and cooked pasta to the pot of cheese sauce. Stir to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a baking dish. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, thyme, and half the Pecorino cheese. Stir in enough olive oil to moisten the mixture; season with salt and pepper. Evenly top the finished pasta with the seasoned breadcrumbs.

6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish:

Bake the finished pasta, rotating the baking dish halfway through, 9 to 11 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly around the edges. Remove from the oven; immediately top with a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining Pecorino cheese. Let stand at least 2 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Bake the casserole & serve your dish:
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