recipes-mini-broccoli-and-pasta-casseroles

This recipe from Martha Stewart’s latest cookbook “Meatless” is a great way to do comfort food in less than 350 calories.

This insanely yummy casserole has less pasta and a lighter sauce, making it a guilt-free meal that will be a hit with everyone at your table. It’s low in fat, high in protein and fiber and is packed with fresh broccoli.

“Meatless” features more than 200 vegetarian recipes—everything from appetizers and side dishes to casseroles, pastas, burgers and soups. What makes this cookbook a standout, however, is “the vegetarian pantry” section, which outlines key items you should have on-hand, such as beans, quinoa and nuts. Martha offers advice for boosting flavor and adding protein to meals, and you can find sample menus and skill tutorials in the back.

As Martha says in the dedication, “Meatless” isn’t just for vegetarians, it’s “To everyone who realizes that a balanced diet relying more heavily on vegetable than on animal can result in a longer and healthier life.”

So don’t run at the absence of meat, and start with this recipe to incorporate more vegetarian meals into your diet.

Mini Broccoli and Pasta Casseroles
Serves 6

  • 2 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
  • 1 head broccoli (about 1 pound), cut into florets, stems peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Course salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fusilli pasta
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 4 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, pureed in a food processor
  • 4 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pulse bread in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast 8 minutes, tossing halfway through.

2. Cook broccoli in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Add pasta to pot, and cook 2 to 3 minutes less than package instructions. Drain.

3. Wipe pot clean. Add olive oil and heat over medium. Saute onion, stirring until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add flour and ground mustard. Cook, stirring 1 minute. Whisk in milk in a slow, steady stream. Bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheeses and season with salt and pepper.

4. Stir broccoli and pasta into sauce. Divide mixture among six 1 1/2-cup baking dishes; top with breadcrumbs. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until bubbling and tops are browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.