Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli is a recipe adapted from Clifford A. Wright’s cookbook “Hot & Cheesy.” It’s one of several cookbooks with lots potluck menu inspiration. Another of my favorites is Betty Rosbottom’s “Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish.” Here are some of Rosbottom’s casserole tips:
- Shallower dishes tend to cook more quickly than deeper ones.
- Unless there’s a lot of braising liquid, butter or oil baking dishes to prevent food from sticking.
- When cooking pasta for casseroles, make sure to season the water with salt, but do not add oil to the pasta water or rinse the drained cooked pasta; both will prevent sauces from adhering to the pasta.
Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli
Yield: 4 servings
8 ounces rigatoni
1 1/4 pounds broccoli, stems and florets separated
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for greasing casserole
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot whole milk
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt, about Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces mozzarella, diced
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1. Heat the oven to 400F. Heat a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add rigatoni; cook, 6 minutes. Cut the broccoli stems into 1-inch pieces. Add stems to the pot with the pasta; cook, 2 minutes. Add florets; cook about 5 minutes longer. (Never cook broccoli longer than 7 minutes.) Drain pasta and broccoli; transfer to a bowl.
2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; pour in milk slowly, whisking all the time. Return to heat; add Parmesan cheese. Cook until thicker, about 10 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and cayenne. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed.
3. Add the mozzarella and half the sauce to the rigatoni and broccoli; toss. Pour into a buttered 10-inch casserole dish; spread evenly. Spoon remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake until golden and crispy on top, about 20 minutes.
Adapted from “Hot & Cheesy.”