Cheesy Broccoli Tomato Pasta Bake
This macaroni and cheese-style pasta bake is made even better with roasted broccoli, roasted tomatoes, and whole grain pasta.
The other day, the infamous “What’s for dinner?” question came up in my house. I had a plan (as I usually do) but didn’t feel like eating what I’d planned for. What’s a busy mom of two to do? Make macaroni and cheese, of course!
Mac and cheese is always a winner with the kids, and this time I upped the nutritional value by adding some roasted broccoli and roasted tomatoes. My whole family loves roasted vegetables, and who can resist broccoli coated in a creamy, cheesy sauce? Not I.
I used whole-wheat penne because that’s the only short pasta shape that I had on hand in my cupboard. We loved this with the penne, and I think it would also be great with shells. Shells are my kids’ favorite, so I’ll likely try those next time.
The tomatoes and broccoli roast together in the same pan, until the tomatoes burst and the broccoli starts to crispen and caramelize. While the vegetables roast, you boil the pasta and make the cheese sauce. Then you mix it all together, sprinkle on a Panko crumb topping, and bake until the Panko become golden and crisp.
We make mac and cheese pretty often in our house, and I’m glad to have this recipe to add into my rotation. I like that it has all of the cheesy pasta taste we love, but with some extra nutritional value thanks to the vegetables and whole grain pasta.
This pasta bake comes together fairly quickly, so it’s possible to make it on a weeknight. The leftovers are great for lunches in the coming days. This Cheesy Broccoli Tomato Pasta Bake is comfort food that your whole family will enjoy.
- 1 crown broccoli, cut into florets (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups (16 oz.) grape or cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 16 oz. pasta shapes (I used whole-wheat penne)
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp. dry mustard
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 2 cups (8 oz.) sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp. butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place broccoli florets and tomatoes in a baking dish. Toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes burst and broccoli begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 375.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain, rinse with cool water, and return to the pot.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and then garlic, dry mustard, and cayenne. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in milk and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture just comes to a low boil and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, a little bit at a time.
- Pour cheese sauce over pasta. Chop broccoli into small pieces. Stir broccoli and tomatoes into cheesy pasta. Pour into a baking dish that you've lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
- Stir together Panko and 1 tbsp. melted butter. Sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered, until top just begins to turn golden, about 15 minutes.
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