Creamy, oozy, gooey and delicious, this parsnip pasta bake is a vegged-up healthier version of your favourite macaroni cheese. What’s not to love?!
I got two massive parsnips in my organic veg box, and spent days considering what to do with them. They really were whoppers – one was about a foot long! – and weighed in at about 200g each. I considered making parsnip soup, but DH isn’t a big soup fan. And I thought about roasting them, but I thought they might be a bit too big and woody to really shine in a dish of roasted veggies.
I thought about flavours that would work well with parsnip. These include curry spices, thyme, garlic, mustard, honey, maple syrup, smoky flavours, hard cheese, apples and coconut. TOO MUCH CHOICE! Oh, indecision…
I needed to get dinner on the table. We’d had potatoes the previous night, and rice the night before, so I reached for the pasta. I mentally skimmed through the ‘flavours’ list and picked garlic, mustard and cheese. And then, I combined everything into this delicious parsnip pasta bake!
If you’re the sort of person who likes to hide vegetables in unexpected places, this parsnip pasta is for you. The sauce is thick, creamy, cheesy and delicious. I thought it tasted of parsnips in quite an obvious way, but having identified the cheese, mustard etc, DH couldn’t guess what my ‘secret ingredient’ was. He insisted that I include parsnip in the name of the recipe, so that no-one would be duped into eating cheesy pasta, only to discover they’d consumed a big plate of delicious root vegetables too.
Our daughter Kipper meanwhile, ate a huge bowl of cheesy parsnip pasta bake and even asked for seconds. She is a big fan of macaroni cheese, so it wasn’t a big surprise. Parsnip-y goodness. Yum.
A further advantage of this parsnip sauce (apart from being utterly delicious and containing a portion of vegetables) is that it’s also gluten-free. Obviously the pasta isn’t, but if you wanted a wheat/gluten-free cheesy sauce for something else, I think this would be a great option.
This made enough for 2 adults, a child, and a portion leftover for lunch. I’d say 3-4. It’s quite saucy, so you can easily add more pasta to bulk it out if you need to feed more people.
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Cheesy parsnip pasta bake
- 400 g parsnips (approx. 14 oz)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 175-200 g short pasta (approx. 6-7 oz)
- 300 ml milk (approx. 1⅓ cups)
- 25 g butter (scant 2 tbsp)
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 100 g grated cheddar (approx. 1 cup)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Peel the parsnips and cut into chunks. Peel the garlic cloves. Put the parsnips and garlic into a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Drain.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the grill (broiler) to medium-high.
- Puree the drained parsnips and garlic in a food processor together with the milk, butter, mustard and half of the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix the drained pasta with the parsnip sauce and transfer into a baking dish. Scatter over the remaining cheese.
- Cook under the hot grill for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden and everything is bubbling hot. Serve and enjoy!
If you love the delicious flavour of parsnips, why not try this creamy parsnip soup with pears, coconut and ginger, this wonderful parsnip and carrot kugel, or these delicious maple roasted parsnips.
November’s ‘The Vegetable Palette’ colour is white – parsnips! The challenge is organised by A2K – A Seasonal Veg Table and is full of lovely seasonal vegetarian recipes.
Since the parsnips came from our local organic veg box, supplied by the Cambridge Organic Food Company, I’m also entering this in the to Shop Local challenge, hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.
Finally, since this is a very autumnal dish, I’m putting it forward for Simple and in Season, hosted this month by Feeding Boys, and organised by Ren at renbehan.com