Meal 3 in the Prep Ahead Week 4 plan is a creamy, cheesy, pasta bake. The sauce is a sun-dried tomato bechamel that coats the pasta perfectly. In fact, if you aren't a fan of whole grain pasta, this sauce is the ultimate foil.
The sauce has just the right amount of sun-dried tomatoes and gives the sauce its own unique flavor. I love sun-dried tomatoes but even I notice when there is just too much of it, so I was very pleased with the flavor outcome of this bake.
For the Prep Ahead meal the pasta and broccoli are cooked the night before and then melded with the sauce and seitan. For this stand alone version, you cook the pasta and broccoli and bake. You can even increase the broccoli in this dish to 2 pounds and skip the seitan altogether, if that's your wish.
I had a little bit of a Daiya block leftover from another dish that needed using up, so I finely grated some on the pasta, but that is just extra icing on the cake. If you like your broccoli green and crisp-tender, cook it separately and add it to the pasta in the last few minutes of baking.
Baked Broccoli and Seitan Pasta
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
12 ounces penne pasta
12 ounces broccoli, chopped
1/2 pound seitan, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F. Combine the broth, miso and nutritional yeast in a bowl or blender. Whisk or blend until smooth. Set aside.
2. Add the onion to a large pot over medium heat. Cover and cook. Chop the tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices and add to the pot. Add garlic to the pot. Add a splash of broth if the onion is burning. Cook until the onion is golden. Add the flour. Add the thyme and mix well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.
3. Slowly add the broth mixture to the pot and use a whisk to mix until the sauce is smooth. Bring to simmer to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Cook the pasta al dente. Add the broccoli during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water and add to a 13x9-inch baking dish.
5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with oil or add 1 teaspoon oil. Cook the seitan until golden. Add the seitan to the baking dish.
6. Add the bechamel sauce to the baking dish and toss well. Add some of the reserved cooking water, as needed to make a creamy sauce. Bake until bubbly and heated-through, about 30 minutes. Stir once halfway through baking. Serve.
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