Broccoli pasta casserole or baked broccoli pasta is a delicious pasta dish for weeknights or a special occasion, holidays, parties, or potlucks. If you are looking for vegetarian crowd pleaser recipes then this is a perfect dish to make.
It is very easy to make in just a few steps and with a handful of ingredients easily found in the kitchen pantry.
To make baked broccoli pasta, you will need pasta. Any type of pasta like penne, rotini, farfalle, or rigatoni will work well. I have used penne pasta to make this recipe.
Frozen or fresh broccoli florets can be used and you can add more or less as per your liking.
To make the white sauce pasta or roux, some all purpose flour, butter, salt, milk, and cheddar cheese are needed. If you want to keep it simple, you can use store bought alfredo sauce.
Black pepper and Italian seasoning adds flavor to the casserole.
The first step is to cook pasta for making this vegetarian broccoli pasta recipe. You can follow the directions on the package and cook the pasta al dente in texture.
Boiling pasta on the stovetop has always been a challenge, as it can stay undercooked or get overcooked and there is always a chance of water overflowing the moment your attention veers away from the boiling pot.
Also, draining out hot water from the pasta is not fun and requires a lot of caution with excited small kids running around the kitchen area. So it is best to cook the pasta in the Instant Pot.
In order to cook pasta in the Instant Pot, I use 1 cup of water for every cup of pasta. Add some salt and set the pressure settings to 0 minutes. Once done, wait for 6 minutes to release the remaining pressure manually.
Release the pressure manually by turning the pressure knob to the venting position and letting the steam release. Since pasta has starch, it can throw out starchy water along with the steam. Use the controlled release method to release the pressure, turn the knob back to the pressure position, and wait for 30 seconds before retrying.
Repeat the process until all the pressure is released. Open the lid and toss some olive oil over the pasta so it does not stick.
While the pasta is cooking in the Instant Pot, you can steam the broccoli florets in a steamer basket on the stovetop until tender or in another Instant Pot for 0 minutes followed by a quick pressure release.
For the white sauce, turn the Instant Pot on the saute setting in normal mode. You can make the white sauce on the stovetop on medium heat.
Once the pot is heated, add the butter. After the butter melts, add the all-purpose flour and mix with a spatula. Keep mixing it until it becomes a little stringy. Add the milk and salt, and mix well to ensure no lumps form.
Finally, stir in some cheddar and pepper jack cheese and mix well. Take it off the heat or flame. Mix the pasta, broccoli, and white sauce and bake in a casserole dish at 350°F for 10 minutes. I personally like to bake in the Lenox Butterfly Meadow Scalloped Oval Baker.
You can adapt this recipe by making a few variations.
Mushrooms and onions: Some roasted mushrooms and sauteed onions can also be added to the pasta bake.
Alfredo sauce: instead of making the white sauce, store-bought alfredo sauce can be used.
Gluten-free: you can use gluten-free pasta and gluten-free sauce.
Enjoy this baked pasta dish while it is hot with garlic bread, garlic knots, bread sticks, sourdough bread, or some hot soup. You can just enjoy it by itself and sprinkle some red chili flakes, Italian seasoning, breadcrumbs for a crunchy topping, or grated cheese while serving.
Broccoli pasta casserole is a great dish to make as a side or for parties and potlucks! It is truly a crowd-pleaser dish!
Instant Pot is a boon to cooking pasta. There is no need to bring the water to a rolling boil before adding pasta or monitoring it continuously. This reduces the overall time to cook pasta and you can get other things done. A 3 qt. Instant Pot or 6 qt. Instant Pot works perfectly well.
It also uses less water as only the amount needed to cook it is required to be added. Pasta cooked in an Instant Pot tastes much better as an Instant Pot infuses the flavors in the dish and does not let it escape in steam.
The casserole is baked in a convection oven.
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in the casserole dish covered with a cling wrap or in an air-tight container. When you are ready to eat, simply reheat the broccoli pasta bake in the microwave for a few seconds.
Don't forget to check out these Instant Pot recipes
- Mac and cheese
- Mixed Vegetable Casserole
- Vegan Pasta Soup
- Kung Pao Chickpeas
- Paneer wraps
- Vegetable casserole
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Broccoli Pasta Casserole
- Instant Pot 6 qt or 3 qt.
- Convection Oven
Cooking pasta in instant pot
- 3 cups Penne Pasta (12 oz)
- 3 cups Water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tablespoon All-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- ½ cup Cheddar cheese grated
- 2 cups Milk
- Salt to taste
For baked broccoli pasta
- 3 cups Broccoli florets
- ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning optional
- ½ cup Pepper Jack cheese grated
- ½ teaspoon Red chili flakes optional
- Pepper for sprinkling, optional
Cooking Pasta in Instant Pot
- Add pasta, water, and salt to the instant pot container.
- Select high "Pressure" mode for 0 minutes. (keep warm setting "on")
- Once complete, let the pressure release naturally for 6 minutes and then do a quick release intermittently over next 3 minutes.
- Toss the pasta with some oil and keep aside.
Steaming the Broccoli florets
- While pasta is getting cooked in Instant pot, steam the florets on cook top for about 3 minutes or until tender.
Preheat the oven
- Preheat oven at 350°F.
Making white sauce
- Heat a saucepan on medium heat or use the instant pot on the "Saute" mode on high temperature, once hot add the butter.
- Let the butter melt and then add the all-purpose flour and mix well until well cooked (about a minute).
- Add the milk and cook it well and let it boil for about a minute, stirring occasionally.
- Mix in the cheese and salt.
Baking the pasta
- Mix the pasta, white sauce, and broccoli in a casserole dish.
- Sprinkle cheese, pepper, Italian seasoning, and bake it in the preheated oven at 350 °F for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve it while it is hot.
- Fresh broccoli can also be steamed in an instant pot for 0 minutes on "Pressure" and then a quick release. For frozen broccoli florets, only thawing is enough.
- While releasing pressure for pasta perform controlled pressure release. If the starch starts coming out then shift the knob to the sealing position and then retry after about 30 seconds. Continue until all the pressure is released.
- To ensure the pasta does not stick after cooking, toss some olive oil over it once cooked.
- You can also use store-bought white sauce in case you want to make the dish quicker.
- Instead of using the instant pot, you can cook the pasta on the stove top based on the package directions.
The zero minute pasta time was PERFECT!! I've been trying to master my pasta cooking skill in the IP and you just solved my problems in one quick read! Thank you! Oh and this recipe was a huge success for my picky eaters
Alpa Jain says
Thankyou for your feedback. Glad your kids loved it.
U said 0 minutes as in Zero? Is this correct? I want to make sure before I attempt this hopefully tomorrow lol cause I love me some broccoli pasta!
Hi Felicia, yes it is 0 as in zero minutes 🙂 Instant pot will come to pressure and then will turn off. After that let the pressure release naturally for 6 minutes and then in a controlled way release the remaining pressure over next few minutes. This reduces/avoids spluttering of starchy water.
Hope this helps