Broccoli, Mushroom, Spinach and Cheese Pasta is a sophisticated and healthier vegetarian version of mac ‘n cheese, using Fontina and Parmesan instead of Cheddar cheese.
Mushroom, Spinach, and Broccoli Pasta
Broccoli, Mushroom, Spinach and Cheese Pasta is super versatile, combining broccoli, sliced mushrooms, shallots, spinach and my favorite ingredients: Parmesan and Fontina cheeses, all deliciously baked with whole wheat ziti pasta. A mixture of more Parmesan and bread crumbs on top adds a bit of crunch. As indicated in the variation below, you can use lots of different vegetables and cheeses, to suit your taste. Even I switch it up from time to time for variety!
Best Mushroom types for Vegetable Casseroles
Any type of mushroom – or a mix – will work well in this dish. I’m partial to cremini (also called baby bella) mushrooms. They are in the same family as white button, but are more mature and therefore have more flavor. Portabella are also in the same family, and the most mature, so they will have the strongest flavor. Shiitake mushrooms will add a hint of smokiness.
How to Make Broccoli Casserole with Mushroom, Spinach, and Pasta
There are few steps involved in prepping the ingredients for this veggie casserole, but the good news is they are all easy, and once assembled, it doesn’t have to bake for very long (just 15 minutes!).
- Cook pasta.
Follow the package instructions and cook until almost tender but still al dente (see my pasta cooking tips here).
- Cook broccoli.
If you bought broccoli heads or stems, cut heads into small (1-inch) florets (reserve stems for another use) and place in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam until crisp-tender. (Can also be cooked in a basket with water underneath, in an Instant Pot; set time to 0, and release steam immediately.)
- Cook mushrooms and shallots.
In a large skillet, melt butter until the foam subsides, then add mushrooms and shallots and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their moisture and most of it evaporates.
- Make cheese sauce.
Put milk in a mixing bowl. Sift the flour over the top, and whisk until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Stir this flour mixture into the mushroom mixture and simmer until thickened. Stir in spinach. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses; stir until melted.
- Combine ingredients.
Add cheesy mushroom sauce to pasta and broccoli; toss until well blended. Spoon into a buttered baking dish.
- Prepare topping.
In a small skillet or saucepan, melt remaining 1 teaspoon of butter. Remove from heat and stir in breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over top of pasta mixture.
- Bake casserole.
Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes or until bubbly and the top begins to brown.
To store any leftovers, wrap well and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, bring to room temperature, unwrap, cover top with foil and reheat in a 350 degree oven for around 15 minutes or until heated through.
Yes, you can freeze this casserole, either uncooked or cooked, for up to 1 month. Here are directions:
To freeze uncooked casserole and bake later: Line the baking dish with foil, with around 3 to 4 inches of foil overlapping outside the pan. Prepare the casserole per the recipe but don’t bake it; cool, wrap and freeze. When frozen, remove from pan by lifting out with the foil. Wrap the frozen casserole well with plastic wrap, then wrap with foil and freeze for up to 1 month. To cook, remove the wrap and foil, and place in the original baking dish. To bake without thawing, add around 20 to 25 minutes to the cook time. Or, thaw it in the refrigerator for around 24 hours and then bake.
To freeze cooked casserole and reheat later: you can either cook it and freeze it in the same baking dish, or follow the instructions above to freeze without the baking dish.
Yes, you can use frozen broccoli in place of fresh in this casserole. Place it in boiling salted water for 2 to 4 minutes, then drain well before using.
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More Favorites from A Well-Seasoned Kitchen
- 1 (12-ounce) package whole wheat ziti pasta
- 3/4 pound fresh broccoli florets
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms (button, cremini, shiitake or a mix)
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 3 cups fat free milk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 5 ounces package baby spinach
- 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Fontina cheese
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees (see Note below). Butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish.
- In a large stockpot, cook the ziti pasta according to package directions until almost tender but still al dente (see my pasta cooking tips).
- While the pastas cooks, place broccoli in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam until crisp-tender.
- Drain pasta, return to pot and add the broccoli. Set aside.
- In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt 2 teaspoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and shallots and cook 5 minutes or until tender.
- In a medium mixing bowl, pour in the milk. Sift the flour over the top of the milk, and whisk until well blended. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir the flour mixture into the mushroom mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in spinach. Remove from heat and stir in Fontina and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. Add mushroom sauce to pasta mixture and toss until well blended.
- Place in prepared baking dish.
- In a small skillet or saucepan, melt remaining 1 teaspoon of butter. Stir in breadcrumbs and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over top of pasta mixture.
- Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until bubbly and the top begins to brown.
Note on cooking temperature: casserole can also be baked at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes.
Make ahead: Casserole can be prepared but not baked up to three days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Cover with foil to bake and increase cooking time to 30 minutes, then uncover dish and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until beginning to brown.
- Category: Main dish, pasta, vegetarian, make ahead
- Method: Sauté and bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: healthy pasta, easy dinner, make ahead