This is a warming, easy to cook mid-week meal solution or weekend lunch option which we and our children often enjoy.
Many macaroni dishes contain peas so as to include a vegetable, but broccoli is a tasty substitute if like us you’re allergic to peas (like my son), simply don’t like them (like my husband and I), or would rather include the super-food that is broccoli!
If you’re vegetarian just omit the ham.
It is delicious served with garlic bread, or even a tear-and-share, or as a side dish with pizza!
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)
- 250g dried pasta shapes (I prefer fusilli or penne, but you could use any)
- 4 slices of cooked ham, chopped
- Half a large broccoli, broken into florets
- 50g butter or equivalent spread
- 50g plain flour
- 500ml milk
- 200g grated cheese
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5 / 190°C.
Cook the pasta following pack instructions, and the broccoli florets in the same pan for the same amount of time.
For the cheese sauce:
Melt the butter gently in a saucepan.
Add the flour, and stir into a paste.
Add the milk to the pan, a little at a time, whisking until it’s smooth.
Cook the sauce for 5 minutes to allow it to thicken.
Add half of the grated cheese (100g) and the chopped ham, then remove pan from the heat; stir until the cheese has melted into the sauce.
Next, drain the cooked pasta and broccoli, and add it to a large ovenproof dish. Pour the cheese sauce into the dish over the pasta, breaking up the broccoli as you stir everything together.
Top the dish with the remaining 100g of cheese.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper or nutmeg, then serve and enjoy!