White cheddar broccoli and shells is ready for the dinner table in only 30 minutes and features tender shells and broccoli in a rich white cheddar sauce.
Sometimes all you need is a big bowl of cheesy shells to get you through the day. And this recipe absolutely delivers.
With a little green snuck in there too, so you definitely won’t feel bad about going back for that inevitable second bowl.
Best part? We’re pulling off this comfort food goodness in 30 minutes with only a handful of basic ingredients I’m betting you have on hand right now!
Y’all, it’s so simple, but honestly sometimes that’s best. This is just a pot of cozy, classic cheesy flavors and kinda tastes like childhood to me.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest you try eating it straight out of the pot. Sometimes ya just gotta.
These White Cheddar Broccoli and Shells feature…
- Tender pasta shells and broccoli florets
- A rich, creamy white cheddar sauce spruced up with a bit of Parmesan and garlic + onion powder
- Ready in 30 minutes completely on the stovetop
Making the White Cheddar Broccoli Shells
(scroll down to the bottom of post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Pasta shells
- Unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour
- Heavy whipping cream
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- White cheddar cheese
- Parmesan cheese
Choosing Your Pasta
We love the medium shells shape of pasta best for this dish because it gives it that classic boxed mac ‘n’ cheese feel. – only this is much better!
However, any shape of pasta will work great for this recipe, so feel free to use what you have on hand.
Tips for Perfect Broccoli and Shells
- Cook pasta to al dente – the pasta will continue to cook just slightly once it’s in the sauce, so make sure you boil it only to al dente.
- Steam or boil broccoli to crisp-tender – just like the pasta, the broccoli will also cook a bit more in the sauce. Make sure not to overcook it.
- Make the white cheddar sauce – we’re going to start from a roux of butter + flour and then make a classic bechamel sauce by adding milk and heavy whipping cream. Cook the sauce until it’s slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
- Shred your own white cheddar – you’ll get a much better white cheddar flavor if you shred it from a block yourself.
- Add cheeses off-heat – shredded white cheddar and Parmesan get added once the sauce is bubbly and thickened.
- Fold in pasta, broccoli, and seasonings – make sure everything is equally coated in sauce.
Try these ideas for inspiration in changing this recipe a bit to put your own spin on it!
- Try another cheese – gouda, swiss, cheddar, or just choose your favorite! Feel free to add several different cheeses as well.
- Swap out the broccoli for another veggie – sauteed pepper, zucchini, peas, asparagus or mushrooms would all be great additions.
- Add meat – try cooked chicken, sausage, or bacon for a meaty kick.
These shells are a dream to store for leftovers all week! Store shells in refrigerator up to 6 days and reheat individual servings in microwave 1-2 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals.
These shells are just the dream, you guys. They’re INCREDIBLY creamy, perfectly cheesy with just a little bit of sharpness from the white cheddar, and just overall the dream comfort food.
Tastes way better than any boxed mac and it’s literally just as easy to pull off too! Can’t get much more of a dinner win than that.
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More easy pasta meals to add to your menu!
White Cheddar Broccoli and Shells
- 1 lb pasta shells
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% or skim milk
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1-1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta shells according to package instructions in lightly-salted water until al dente. Keep warm and set aside.
- Bring a medium pot of lightly-salted water to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add broccoli and allow broccoli to simmer 3-5 minutes until tender. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and let cook 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Slowly drizzle in milk and cream, whisking constantly until smooth and incorporated.
- Cook sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sauce is bubbly and thickened. Remove from heat and add cheeses, garlic powder, and onion powder, whisking until cheese is melted.
- Fold shells and broccoli into sauce until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm and enjoy!
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