Recipe: crusty and cheesy, broccoli, pasta and bacon bake

Whenever I’m on the hunt for a quick bite to eat, I look for a meal that can be easily prepared and served up onto the plate under an hour.

Presenting: the broccoli pasta and bacon bake that’s a whizz to put together and tastes pretty good too!

It’s definitely one of those dishes that you can keep on adapting again and again by changing up the bread toppings and cheeses, to different styles of pasta.

Take out the bacon and switch to a vegetable stock cube if you want to make it vegetarian – or instead of broccoli you could use cauliflower or a mix of both. You can be as creative or as simple as you like. Recipe is adapted from BBC GoodFood.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g dried pasta
  • 150g bacon lardons
  • 1 red onion
  • Head of broccoli (stalks chopped off  into chunksand florets set aside)
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 tsp powdered mustard
  • 200g pot Irish crème fraîche
  • 125g grated red cheddar
  • Handful of Irish parsley
  • Breadcrumbs (a slice put processed)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rapeseed oil

Method:

Note: You need a big pot for this and you will also be using a frying pan and grill.

  1. Prepare your pasta, onion and broccoli stalks by popping them into a large pan and covering in salted boiling water. Cook according to packet and until pasta is soft.
  2. While that’s on the go, in a small frying pan with a tiny bit of oil, cook your bacon lardons on a high heat until crispy.
  3. When the pasta is close to being ready, add in the broccoli florets and keep cooking for a further 3 minutes.
  4. Drain the pasta and vegetables and set aside but remember to reserve about 450mls of the cooking water.
  5. Mix the bacon in with your drained pasta and vegetables.
  6. Add the reserved water back into the pot and stir in your stock cube until thoroughly mixed.
  7. Add in the mustard and crème fraîche and then whisk into the liquid.
  8. Bring it to the boil and then add in your pasta, vegetables and bacon. At this point you also add in half of the cheese mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat up your grill.
  9.  Chop up your parsley and it in – the sauce surrounding the pasta and other ingredients should be like white sauce and thick.
  10. Pour your mix into an ovenproof dish. Mix the the breadcrumbs with the dried thyme and oregano and sprinkle on top of the dish with the remaining cheese on top.
  11. It’s grill time! Pop the dish underneath and give the bake less than 5 minutes under heat. You’re waiting for the top to brown but not burn. The bread should be nice and toasty too with a bit of colour.

IMG_0314

(Image and recipe copyright of Úna-Minh Kavanagh)

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