Gruyere, asparagus and pea baked pasta

  • 12 oz whole wheat rotini
  • 5 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 C sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 1-pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ C peas, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 5T all-purpose flour
  • 4 C milk
  • 2 t dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 C shredded Gruyere or Fontina cheese
  • 1 T chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2/3 C whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 3750. Coat a 9×13 pan baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions. Reserve ½ C of the cooking water, then drain and rinse the pasta. Transfer to a large bowl. Meanwhile, heat 1T oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 6-8 minutes. Add asparagus and garlic; cook, stirring, until the asparagus is tender-crisp, 2-4 minutes. Add peas; cook 1 minute more. Transfer to the bowl with the pasta. Add 2 T oil to the pan and return to medium heat. Sprinkle in flour; cook whisking, until it starts to brown, 2-3 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in milk, then the reserved water, mustard, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking until the sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in cheese and tarragon. Pour over the pasta mixture and stir until coated. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 2 T oil in a small bowl and sprinkle over the casserole. Bake until steaming hot, 30-35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8; recipe from Eating Well magazine.