Baked Pasta with Broccoli Pesto and Mozzarella

Who doesn’t love a baked pasta dish?  Baked Pasta with Broccoli Pesto and Mozzarella is super cheesy and delicious, but also filled with two whole heads of broccoli!  Broccoli haters just might be converted!!

It’s probably no secret that the Thomas-Ewing household loves to eat carbs, more specifically, pasta.  There is just nothing easier to make, probably nothing as budget friendly, and surely no dish as well liked as a baked cheese-filled pasta dish.  If we are looking for comfort food, then in most cases, pasta is what’s on the menu.
Who doesn’t love a baked pasta dish? Baked Pasta with Broccoli Pesto and Mozzarella is super cheesy and delicious, but also filled with two whole heads of broccoli! Broccoli haters just might be converted!!

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 cups broccoli florets, about 2 heads of broccoli
  • 900 grams penne pasta, par-cooked and cooled
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, optional

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add the broccoli florets to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook the broccoli on a low boil for 5 minutes. Do not overcook the broccoli.
  2. Remove the broccoli from the water and transfer to a food processor.
  3. In the meantime, add the penne pasta to the leftover broccoli water and boil until pasta is almost fully cooked.
  4. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a casserole dish by greasing it with a little olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Add the garlic, parmesan, and olive oil to the food processor. Pulse until smooth and creamy.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and return the cooked pasta back to the pot.
  7. Add the broccoli pesto, salt, black pepper, dried chili flakes, and toss to coat.
  8. Spoon half of the pasta mixture into the casserole dish. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese.
  9. Spoon the rest of the pasta onto the first layer of cheese and top with the remaining mozzarella.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbling.
  11. Serve immediately.

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