Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cheesy Pasta Casserole

*See updated recipe here: Cheesy Broccoli and Pasta Casserole

This dish is so cheesy and hearty you won't think of it as a healthy meal but making it with whole wheat pasta and mixing in broccoli and mushrooms makes it healthier than you'd imagine. It does take awhile and requires a few pots and pans so it is good to start it early and clean up as you cook. 

2 1/4 cups dry rotini whole wheat pasta
2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup flour
1 8 oz. bag Italian Blend Cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
4 tsp. parmesan cheese
italian seasoning
fresh basil (2 leaves)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons cooking wine (white)
7  cremini (baby portabella or white) mushrooms sliced
1 medium head of broccoli
8x8 glass casserole dish

-Preheat oven to 400 F
-Spray casserole dish with Pam
-Bring pot of water to a boil

-Cut stems off broccoli and cut into medium/small pieces
-Steam broccoli in microwavable dish with a little bit of water covered with saran wrap (about 5 minutes)

-Sautee the mushrooms with a little white cooking wine and garlic then add to casserole dish

-Roll basil leaves into "cigar" and slice into strips, add to casserole dish
-Add broccoli to casserole dish

-Cook pasta, drain and put in casserole dish
-Gently mix all ingredients in dish until combined

-Measure flour into sauce pan
-Slowly add milk; whisking until smooth and combined

-Heat over medium heat stirring constantly until it thickens (about 15 minutes)
-Turn heat to medium-low and add cheese 1/4 cup of cheese at a time and stir, add next 1/4 cup after each addition of cheese has melted (this makes for a smoother, creamier sauce and keeps it from getting "grainy" like cheese sauce can sometimes)

-Add all of the sauce to casserole dish and stir/fold until everything is coated

-Top with panko breads crumbs and parmesan cheese

-Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until topping is brown and sauce is bubbly
-Let sit for 5 minutes before serving

4 servings
Approx: 415 calories per serving


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