An easy and delicious pasta-bake recipe featuring charred broccoli and Point Reyes Toma cheese. A quick bechamel pulls it all together for a delicious family meal.
- 1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
- 2 Tbsp butter, divided
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, stems removed
- 1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk, divided
- Pinch salt
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium heads broccoli
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded Point Reyes Toma cheese, or flavorful jack cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 11-by-13-inch baking dish.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander, rinse briefly with cold water, and then return to the cooking pot. Add 1 Tbsp of the butter and stir to coat the pasta and keep it from sticking.
- Heat the remaining butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, cook for about 30 seconds, then stir in the flour to form a paste.
- Add about 1/2 cup milk and stir well to distribute the flour paste and eliminate any lumps. Whisk in the remaining milk, then simmer while stirring almost constantly for 2-3 minutes, until thickened slightly. Remove from the heat.
- Slice the stems of the broccoli into 1/4-inch rounds. Break the florets into bite-sized pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, then add the broccoli. Cook over high heat for about 6 minutes, tossing often, until slightly charred in places.
- Mix the broccoli in with the pasta, then transfer to the baking dish. Pour the béchamel over the noodles and stir a bit to distribute evenly. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top, then scatter the Toma cheese evenly on top of that.
- Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking. If necessary, broil for 2 minutes or so to brown the cheese a bit just before serving. Serve immediately.