Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Pasta Bake with White Cheddar

We didn’t call it mac and cheese, but when I was a kid my mum would toss veggies and pasta in cheese sauce and bake it until it was bubbling and golden brown. Roasting the vegetables first deepens their flavor and keeps the sauce creamy. This one’s for you, Lozza.
We didn’t call it mac and cheese, but when I was a kid my mum would toss veggies and pasta in cheese sauce and bake it until it was bubbling and golden brown. Roasting the vegetables first deepens their flavour and keeps the sauce creamy. This one’s for you, Lozza.

Ingredients

6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking dish

1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored, cut into large bite-size florets

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

18 ounces (about 8 cups) broccoli florets

1 1/2 cups (about 5 ounces) penne

4 ounces pancetta, coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

2 cups whole milk

1 1/4 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese (5 ounces)

1 cup very coarse fresh multigrain bread crumbs (made in a food processor or blender from 2 slices bread)

 

5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking dish

1 head cauliflower (about 1.125kg), cored, cut into large bite-size florets

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
540g (about 8 cups) broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups (about 150g) penne
150g pancetta, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (150g)
1/2 cup very coarse fresh multigrain bread crumbs (made in a food processor or blender from 2 slices bread)

Directions

PREP TIME
10
MINS
COOKING TIME
50
MINS
Serves
4
Make-Ahead:
The roasted vegetables, cooked pasta, and cheese sauce can be made up to 8 hours ahead, cooled, covered separately, and refrigerated.
Make-Ahead:
The roasted vegetables, cooked pasta, and cheese sauce can be made up to 8 hours ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. 

Position racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 2-quart baking dish or 4 individual crocks.

On a large baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on the baking sheet. On a second baking sheet, repeat with the broccoli florets and 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir each sheet of vegetables and switch the positions of the baking sheets from top to bottom. Bake for about 10 minutes more, or until the vegetables are tinged with brown. Set aside. (Leave the oven on.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, for about 7 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the penne.

Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until the pancetta is browned and crisp. Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until the onions are tender and slightly browned. Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture, then stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, or until it is very pale golden brown.

Gradually stir in the milk and cream. Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, or until the sauce is lightly thickened and has no raw flour taste. Remove from the heat, add the Cheddar cheese, and stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the vegetables and penne to the cheese sauce and fold together. Spread evenly in the baking dish. In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat, then sprinkle over the vegetable mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving

Position racks in the top third and centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Lightly oil a 3-litre baking dish or 4 individual crocks.

In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a large, rimmed baking tray. Repeat with the broccoli florets and 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil, placing them on a second bakingtray. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir each sheet of vegetables and switch the positions of the baking trays from top to bottom. Bake for about 10 minutes more, or until the vegetables are tinged with brown. Set aside. (Leave the oven on.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, for about 7 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the penne.

Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until the pancetta is browned and crisp. Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until the onions are tender and slightly browned. Reduce the heat to low and sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture, then stir in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, or until it is very pale golden brown.

In a large liquid measuring cup, mix the milk and cream together. Gradually stir about ½ cup of the milk mixture into the flour mixture, then increase the heat to medium-high, gradually stir in the remaining milk mixture, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, or until the sauce is lightly thickened and has no raw flour taste. Remove from the heat, add the Cheddar cheese, and stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the vegetables and penne to the cheese sauce and fold together. Spread evenly in the baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden. Let stand at room