This family friendly, weeknight Penne Pasta & Broccoli Bake is a great mid week dinner. Tender pasta noodles in a creamy parmesan sauce with broccoli. A great make ahead dish the whole family will love. You can prepare it in the morning, pop it in the fridge and bake just before serving.
Are we ready for comfort food yet? Can I just say it’s been hot, so hot here this past week but we are finally getting a little respite. Thankfully. We’re pretty much been living off Salads, fruit and toast. Yesterday, was the first time since last Thursday that I cooked any kind of food at all. Am I the only one that despises the kitchen in the heat?
All that being said, I’m kind of ready for more comforting Pasta dishes, Chicken Dinners, and just about anything that I can cook in the oven. Fall will come.
So with a sneak peek into fall and warming food, I’m bringing you this Penne Pasta and Broccoli Bake. I made this other other week before our heat wave set in and it was a great dish. I know I have A LOT of creamy bakes on the blog and you might say, how is this one any different?
Well, I didn’t make a Roux Sauce for this one, which is how I normally make my creamy sauces. For this recipe, I used cream as the base for the sauce and it worked really well. We all loved it and went back for seconds. Much like my 20 Minute Parmesan Pasta with Broccoli, the Creamy Broccoli & Penne Pasta, Tomato & Mozzarella Baked Penne and my Fusilli Pasta Bake with Bacon and Zucchini, this one’s a keeper!
Here’s The Ingredients We Need To Make The Penne Pasta and Broccoli Bake
- Penne pasta
- Cooking cream
- Gouda cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Small bunch of fresh chopped parsley
REMEMBER, The full recipe and ingredient list is always found in the recipe card at the end of the post.Jump to Recipe
Blanche The Broccoli & Cook the Pasta
Blanche The Broccoli
- Cut the broccoli small – These are really small florets. It gives a better bite in the finished dish
- Blanche the broccoli – Pour boiling water over the broccoli and then cold water.
What is Blanching? Blanching is the process of pouring boiling water over vegetables and then immediately pouring over cold water or immersing in cold water. It helps the vegetables retain their bright colour as we as stay crisper.
Cook The Pasta
- Cook & drain the pasta – cook the pasta al dente. So take it off a few minutes before the package instructions. Because this dish will be going in the oven to finish off you don’t need to cook it until soft.
Make The Sauce
This is a pretty easy sauce to make and only takes minutes. I’ll give a quick run through for you here
- Cook the butter and garlic – Add the butter and garlic to a saucepan set over medium heat. Stir and bring to a sizzle, about just a few minutes
- Add the cooking cream – Pour in the cream and increase the heat on the stove. Whisk to prevent any curdling. As soon as bubbles start to form, about a 2 – 3 minutes, reduce heat.
- Add seasonings and cheese – Add all the seasonings and the cheese. Remove from heat and give a really good stir until smooth and thickened. ** Reserve a few tablespoons of both the Gouda and Parmesan Cheese for topping the dish**
Assemble and Bake The Pasta Dish
- Preheat oven and grease dish – Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees. Grease a 8 x 6 inch baking dish (similar sizes can be used)
- Add pasta and broccoli – Add the pasta and broccoli and stir it up
- Pour over sauce – Evenly pour over the sauce and make sure it’s completely coated. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top.
- Bake the Pasta dish – I baked this in the middle rack for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving
Fresh From The Oven Penne Pasta & Broccoli Bake
And here it is ready to serve. I make dishes like this often, yes even in the summer. I’m crazy like that…hahaha. This dish really is a great family dinner that you can make ahead and bake just before you sit down. Kids love it, adults love it and it’s super easy to make.
Can I use a different Type Of Pasta For This Dish
Yes, of course you can. Easy peasy. You can use spirals, farfale (that’s the bowtie pasta), macaroni, shells and pretty much anything else you can think of will work. Use the pasta shape you like the most.
Notes About the Penne Pasta and Broccoli Bake
- I used a mix of Gouda and Parmesan cheese for this recipe. You can easily just use one or the other. If you choose to use one type of cheese, just make sure you double it up so your dish has enough cheese for the sauce.
- Yes, this can be made in advance, popped in the fridge and baked just before serving. If keeping in the fridge before baking, add an extra 5 minutes to the baking time.
Friends, with the Back To School just around the corner, this will make a great Weeknight Dinner for your really busy days. File it in favourites and make it on repeat all fall long. Serve it with a easy Chopped Salad on the side for a bigger meal. Happy cooking and I’ll be back with more cooking inspiration really soon!
Here’s Some More Great Baked Pasta Dishes
- Bell Pepper & Bacon Pasta Bake
- Fussili Pasta Bake with Bacon & Zucchini
- Tomato & Zucchini Oven Baked Pasta
Get the recipe!
Penne Pasta & Broccoli Bake
- 1/2 lb penne pasta
- 1/2 head broccoli cut into small florets
- 1 Cup cream
- 3/4 Cup Gouda cheese grated
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Small bunch of fresh chopped parsley
- First, blanch the broccoli. Do this by pouring boiling water over the broccoli and then putting it a large bowl of cold water. The reason I like to do this, it ensures a bright green colour to the broccoli and helps keep a crunch to the texture. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the two types of cheese and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan set over a medium heat, add the butter and garlic. Stir it for a minute and add the cream. Bring to a slow simmer for about 2 minutes and the cheese, reserving a few tablespoons for later. Reduce heat to low and stir until you have a smooth sauce, about 2 – 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley. Again, reserving a little for the top.
- In a 4-6 person serving baking dish, add the pasta and pour over the cheese mixture. Stir really well and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle over remaining cheese and parsley. Let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
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