This vegetarian pasta bake recipe is fast enough for midweek cooking. It's the ultimate comfort food for chilly nights.
200g tenderstem broccoli, cut into thirds
50ml light olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
50g plain flour
550ml semi-skimmed milk
60g vintage cheddar, grated
60g gruyère cheese, grated (or vegetarian alternative)
40g fresh breadcrumbs
01.Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over a high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 minutes or until it still has some bite (al dente). For the last 2 minutes add the broccoli, then drain and rinse under cold water to refresh. Cover with damp kitchen paper.
02.Meanwhile in another large deep saucepan, warm the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and gently fry for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the flour, turn up the heat slightly and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, until the flour turns a little darker and smells biscuity.
03.Heat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/gas 6. Turn the heat to low, then slowly add the milk, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk. Turn the heat to medium and stir until the mix thickens and boils gently. Add the spinach and half the grated cheeses. Stir until the spinach wilts and the cheese melts.
04.Add the pasta and broccoli, season to taste, then pour into a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish (see make ahead). Mix the rest of the cheese with the breadcrumbs, then use to top the macaroni. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is deep golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Serve with a sharply dressed green salad, if you like.