Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baked Pasta and Broccoli with Ham and Cheesy-Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

This was yummy, and surprisingly very healthy. Make sure that you pay attention to the milk mixture...I burnt the bottom of mine, but didn't scrape it off the bottom of the pan, so it didn't even taste burnt. Thank you Amelia...

Photo credit to Sara at
Baked Pasta and Broccoli with Ham and Cheesy-Cauliflower Sauce
9x13 pan
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small head cauliflwer, cored and chopped (about 3 cups)
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 medium shallots, roughly chopped (or sub about 1/2-3/4 cup diced onion)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
4 cups skim milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I did just under that, between 1/8-1/4)
6 ounces Pecorino cheese, grated (about 2 cups- could sub fresh grated Parmesan)
1/2 pound medium multigrain pasta shells or bowties
1/4 pound sliced smoked ham, chopped (about 1 cups)
1 medium bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets (3-5 cups)
optional: 1/2 cup toasted whole-wheat panko (Japanese bread crumbs) for serving.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cauliflower, garlic, shallots, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until softened but not brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with flour; stir to coat well.

Gradually stir in milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; gently simmer until cauliflower is very soft, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer all to a blender, and puree with nutmeg and half the pecorino until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until slightly tender but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. (Note: If you like your broccoli pretty tender, add it to boiling pasta water for a couple of minutes before draining) Drain well; return to pot. Add ham, broccoli, and cauliflower sauce; toss to combine. Transfer to an ovenproof 3 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining pecorino, and bake until bubbling in center, about 30 minutes. Heat broiler, and broil until golden brown on top, 1-2 minutes. Divide among dishes, top with breadcrumbs (if using), and serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

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