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A blue rectangular casserole dish with scalloped edges, filled with pasta, broccoli, and melted cheese, on a dark blue and white patterned cloth, with a spoon, a white plate, a fork, and a sprig of thyme, on a white background.

Cheesy Charred Broccoli Pasta Bake

  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


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


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 11-by-13-inch baking dish.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes