Cheesy Broccoli Penne Pasta dish is made on the lighter side with a light cheddar and Parmesan sauce and fresh broccoli. A quick and healthy stove top meal, this is a great weeknight dinner!
We love cheesy pasta dishes, and generally the more cheese the better, right? In summer months we tend to gravitate to lighter meals, leaving our beloved cheesy baked pasta dishes by the wayside. They can be a bit heavy, and while I love baked pasta, I don’t always love to turn on the oven when the temperatures rise. That’s where this Cheesy Broccoli Penne Pasta dish is perfect. It has a light cheddar and Parmesan cheese sauce ~ just enough to coat the pasta and broccoli. And it’s all made on the stove top in under 30 minutes. You can’t beat that!
Light cream cheese helps give the sauce a creamier texture, while some Dijon mustard and crushed red pepper flakes perk it all up. We used Penne pasta, but really any short pasta shape will work fine. The broccoli was especially delicious in this dish. So much so, that I increased the amount from the original recipe.
- 8 ounces penne pasta (or other short pasta shape)
- 6 cups broccoli florets
- 1 1/3 cups skim milk
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add broccoli and cook until tender. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, and then drain pasta and broccoli. Place in a large bowl.
- Return pan to stove top, and combine milk and flour, stirring over medium heat until smooth. Cook until thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
- Add cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, mustard and crushed red pepper flakes to hot milk mixture and stir until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth. If needed, add reserved pasta water by the tablespoonful, to thin sauce to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour cheese sauce over pasta and broccoli, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Source: Cooking Light, March 2013