Portly’s Get Ahead Vegetable Pasta Bake

Pasta Bake

I’ve been looking through various cook books and blogs recently and decided I need to do some more exciting things with my vegetables.  They always play second fiddle to meat in the majority of my dishes and it’s time that changed. So, I’m going to be trying to incorporate a lot more vegetarian dishes into my cooking and more importantly eating!

My favourite vegetable dish is a rather indulgent broccoli and cheese dip that is absolutely fantastic with some homemade tortilla chips.  Back to the pasta bake, I used macaroni for mine.  The main reason being, I had no other type of pasta and I’m also rather fond of the little tubes.  Mac and Cheese was an absolute lunchtime staple when I was a student!

This recipe also makes enough for 2 fairly substantial and filling meals, meaning that the cost per meal drops like a stone!  I think altogether, the cost of all of the ingredients came to around £4.  At £2 a portion, let’s be honest whose complaining? So what you’re going to need is:

  • 1x small Broccoli cut into florets
  • 6x Asparagus stalks sliced
  • ½ Courgette cut into half moon slices
  • 200g macaroni
  • 200g grated cheddar
  • 1 tsp pesto
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 150ml milk
  • Sun dried tomatoes (I used about 4 sliced)

Start off by blanching the asparagus and broccoli and cooking the pasta.  The hardest bit of this is making the white sauce, and let’s be honest this isn’t exactly difficult.  In a pan melt the butter and then add the flour, cook out for around a minute. Then, add the milk and stir continuously until it thickens. Trust me it will thicken suddenly, there will be a point when you’re stood there stirring and stirring and thinking to yourself, ‘nothing’s happening… this can’t be right.’ Then, boom you’ve got yourself a sauce.

Leave your sauce on a low heat and add the cheese and pesto and maybe some seasoning. Although this depends on your personal taste, I think the pesto and the cheese give the sauce enough seasoning but, a little black pepper can’t hurt.  Once the pasta is done drain it and add all of the other ingredients into that pan and give it a really good mix together.  Make sure that all the pasta has a good coating of sauce.  Finally either, put into a baking dish , top with cheese and bake at 200 for about 20 minutes, or do what I did and put it into foil trays (you know the ones that are like take-out trays) leave to cool, then stick it in the freezer for another day!


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