Saturday, March 30, 2024

Broccoli Shells and Cheese

 We love a pasta with broccoli dish, so I tend to make different variations of them often. When I saw this one on the How Sweet Eats blog I knew right away I needed to try it.

I changed the original directions up a bit. How Sweet Eats cooks the broccoli for 2 minutes, before adding the pasta. I like to start cooking the pasta first and then add the broccoli to the pasta in the last few minutes and drain them together, so my directions below reflect that.

The pasta was extremely creamy - as in the creamiest around, but next time I'd like to spice up the cheese sauce a little with some garlic and onion and maybe some red pepper flakes. The unctuous creaminess is there, it just needs a little more flavor.

Broccoli Shells and Cheese

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

by Jessica Merchant

Serves 4-6

1-1/2 cups broccoli florets (about 2 heads, cut smallish)

16 ounces pasta shells

1-1/2 tablespoons butter

1-1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons cream cheese

16 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese 

salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to package directions. Depending on how soft you'd like your broccoli, add the broccoli in the last few minutes that the pasta is cooking. If you'd like your broccoli more firm, add it for the last 2-3 minutes. If you'd like your broccoli a little softer then 4-5 minutes will do. When pasta and broccoli are done to your liking, drain.

While the pasta (and broccoli) are boiling away, make your cheese sauce in a medium size pan. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour to create a roux. Whisk and cook until it's golden and smelling nutty, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and milk slowly, allowing it to steam and thicken up a bit. Stir in the cream cheese until it melts. Turn off the heat and add the shredded cheese in handfuls, mixing until completely melted.

Mix the cheese sauce into the pasta and broccoli and stir until combined. Enjoy!

Potluck Week @ IHCC

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