Broccoli and Pasta Casseroles


Using whole-wheat pasta and breadcrumbs boosts the fiber content of this crowd-pleaser and gives it an appealing nuttiness. Fat-free milk, part-skim ricotta, and a touch of sharp Parmesan lighten the casserole without sacrificing the taste or texture.


  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread (1 ounce)

  • 1 head broccoli (1 pound), cut into florets, stems peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fusilli pasta

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium onion (5 ounces), finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard

  • 4 cups skim milk

  • ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese, pureed

  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (1 cup)

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Process bread in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Toast for 8 minutes.

  2. Cook broccoli in a large pot of boiling water until slightly tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon, reserving water in pot. Add pasta to water, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain.

  3. Add oil and onion to clean pot over medium heat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add flour and ground mustard. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream. Bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt. Season with pepper.

  4. Stir in broccoli and pasta. Transfer to six 1 1/2-cup ramekins or an 8 1/2-by-11-inch baking dish; top with breadcrumbs. Bake until bubbling and tops are browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

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