One Skillet Pasta Bake with Broccoli and White Cheese Sauce

Make this delicious vegetarian broccoli pasta bake with homemade white cheese sauce in one skillet. No need to pre-boil your pasta! Prep is a breeze and dinner is ready in 40 minutes!

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One Skillet Pasta Bake with Broccoli and White Cheese Sauce

This is a Scott meal (aka Mr. Yay! For Food). He is the brains behind the recipe and I will admit he took it upon himself to make the entire dish (I was there giving emotional support, ha). Photos were a shared endeavour, although he did most of the picture taking. I came in the end to take a few final shots, but mostly to eat because… hunger and it smelled so good!

The sauce has all the key ingredients of a basic bechamel (white) sauce with cheese. It should be noted that in a lot of bechamel sauce recipes, milk is usually scalded in another saucepan before adding to the roux (fat and flour mixture). We usually skip that part (including in this recipe) because we’re rebels (and lazy). The trick is to just keep whisking to prevent clumps from forming. The sauce turned out delish, creamy, and thick. The jalapeno jack cheese gives it a bit of kick as well.

In addition, total time is cut as you do not need to pre-boil your pasta; it cooks in the skillet, sucking up the lovely sauce as it bakes. This recipe uses rigatoni because it holds its shape well in the thick sauce. The breadcrumb crust is crunchy, cheesy, and contrasts well with the creamy sauce and tender pasta and broccoli. Now onto the recipe.

Pasta, broccoli, milk, butter, cheese, flour, and breadcrumbs.

Mise en place {see Ingredients for amounts}. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour in a cast iron skillet.

On low heat, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking constantly. It will clump up at first and then smooth out.

Milk in a cast iron skillet.

Increase heat to medium and slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Once milk begins to bubble and thicken slightly, add cheese and whisk for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Broccoli, pasta, and milk in a skillet.

Once sauce is thicken, stir in pasta and broccoli.

A skillet pasta bake topped with cheese and breadcrumbs.

Top with breadcrumbs and cheese.

One Skillet Pasta Bake with Broccoli and White Cheese Sauce cooling on a rack.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden-brown and the pasta and broccoli is tender. Serve immediately.

A plate of baked pasta with broccoli and white cheese sauce.

Enjoy!

A spoon full of broccoli and white cheese sauce baked pasta.
One Skillet Pasta Bake with Broccoli and White Cheese Sauce

One Skillet Pasta Bake with Broccoli and White Cheese Sauce

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Make this delicious vegetarian broccoli pasta bake with homemade white cheese sauce in one skillet. No need to pre-boil your pasta! Prep is a breeze and dinner is ready in 40 minutes! 

Ingredients

For the cheese sauce:

  • 4 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup jalapeño jack cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper

For the pasta bake:

  • 2 cups uncooked dry rigatoni pasta*
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup jalapeño jack cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup seasoned panko (or regular) breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the cheese sauce. In a 12-inch cast iron skillet on low heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk constantly to make a roux; it will clump up at first and then smooth out a bit as the flour is incorporated*.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and gradually add the milk while whisking. Once the milk starts to bubble and thicken slightly, stir in the cheese and whisk frequently as the sauce continues to thicken, about 2-3 minutes; it should be able to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  4. For the pasta bake. Once the sauce is ready, stir in the pasta and broccoli, making sure that the pasta is completely coated with the sauce. Sprinkle cheese and breadcrumbs on top.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pasta and broccoli are cooked through and the crust is golden brown. If the sauce appears too thick or the pasta is still crunchy, pour in some additional milk and bake for an another 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • A 10-inch skillet or large oven-safe pan will work as well.
  • If you would like, add in your choice of spices and herbs to enhance the overall flavours.
  • *Pasta made with white flour works best for this recipe. Whole wheat pasta or thicker noodles may require additional cook time or boiling for a few minutes prior to going into the oven.
  • **You need to whisk for 1-2 minutes to remove the flour’s raw flavour; it should end up a light brown colour with a slightly nutty smell. Cooking too long will impede in the flour’s thickening abilities.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 605
Nutritional values are estimated based on the ingredients used by the author; your ingredients may differ. These values are calculated using Nutritionix.
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14 thoughts on “One Skillet Pasta Bake with Broccoli and White Cheese Sauce”

  • I love love love a one-pot dish! Especially with pasta – boiling it ahead of time is so annoying and I imagine that cooking it in this delicious cream sauce just amps up the flavor! Can’t wait to try it, definitely pinning this one!

  • This looks like a really tasty one dish meal. I’m a bit of a kid in that I still love broccoli in casseroles with béchamel and cheese. Making the béchamel a bit thin and using it to cook the pasta is a really interesting time saver. I’ve had good success making my béchamel by microwaving the milk until it’s medium hot FWIW.

  • Yay for Scott! This looks so good, Marie (and Scott)! I love a good cheese sauce and it goes so well with broccoli! Can’t wait to make this!

  • Ahhhh – those crispy bread crumbs on top! I just want to dive into your photos they look so good. And I love that this pasta is a bit "healthier" with the added broccoli. Definitely need to give it a try!

  • Yum! I absolutely love broccoli with my pasta and I love that you used pepper jack cheese for a little kick. This sounds perfect, and made even better in one-pan! I’m going to go with rebel rather than lazy, I do the same thing when I’m cooking too. Who really wants to wash extra dishes??!!

  • Yay for not pre-boiling the pasta! I hate doing that! Extra dishes and gosh I swear I spend all my time doing dishes in this house -_- oh! and dog toy throwing -_- haha. This looks so creamy and easy! I LOVE this! om nom nom!

  • Im sorry but this pasta recipe is awful. I tried it and 30 minutes later in the oven the pasta was completely undercooked. I didn’t know what to do so I threw it away such a waste. If you’re going to make it boil the pasta ahead of time.

    • Thanks for your feedback. I’m sorry it didn’t turn out, but I appreciate you taking the time to try one of my recipes. A lot depends on the pasta. When we made it, we were using larger, thin rigatoni noodles made with plain white flour, which worked well. I’ve added a few notes to the recipe for cases when it’s not ready in 30 minutes or pasta is made with a different flour or of a different thickness. To your point, boiling the pasta for a few minutes ahead of the oven never hurts.

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