Pasta Shells with Broccoli Béchamel Sauce

orrechiette pasta shells bechamel

Lettuce Meat Rating

On a weeknight, I’m often confronted with leftover veggies like broccoli, cauliflower or carrots. It’s not quite enough for a whole side dish, and my frugal self will never allow me to toss what could be the makings of a great (and creative) new dish! Tonight, I blended up my veggies to make a super creamy – and chock with veggies – pasta dish with béchamel sauce. The kids loved it, and best of all, they were getting their veggies without even realizing it! 🙂 I used pasta shells, but this would also work really well with tortellini or gnocchi.

What is Béchamel?

While it may sound intimidating, béchamel is a basic white sauce that is actually very easy to make. It does not require cream, butter or cheese; light oil, flour and milk will do the trick! It makes a great pasta sauce, and also wonderful with steamed veggies.My mother makes cauliflower with “sauce blanche” (another term for béchamel) which we would enjoy as children, with some proper crusty baguette. Yum!   But back to my pasta recipe….

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 454 g brown rice pasta shells, tortellini or gnocchi
  • 1 cup of cooked broccoli or cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed or light olive oil
  • 1 cup milk, or more as needed for sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cheddar or parmesan cheese, or more to taste

Method

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • While pasta is cooking, blend veggies and 1 cup of milk until smooth.
  • In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add flour and stir until it becomes a smooth paste.

making roux

 

 

 

 

 

Image: JaBB via Flickr

  • Add veggie purée and stir to combine. Continue stirring until sauce thickens. Lower heat. Stir in cheese (optional). Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more milk to thin sauce if desired.
  • Add pasta to sauce and combine. Sprinkle additional cheese on top (optional).

Headline image: chinwei via Flickr

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The Breakdown

I'm a Canadian mother of two with a passion for food and cooking. I'm increasingly discovering that delicious food can also be healthy! So, I am sharing my favourite recipes with like-minded home cooks. Along the way, I'll also be writing about food-related topics such as gadgets, books and television. Let the culinary adventures begin!

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