Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

adapted from Cover & Bake

Serves 6 to 8

Planning ahead:  Complete step 1 (the topping and step 3 (the sauce) of the recipe and refrigerate them in separate bowls, tightly wrapped withp lastic wrap, for up to e2 days. The prepped, uncooked broccoli can be wrapped loosely in damp papers towels and stored in a zipper-lock plastic bag for up to 2 days.

To bake: Cook the broccoli as directed in step 2. Poke several vent holes in the palstic wrap covering the sauce and microwave on medium-high powers, whisking occasionally, until hot, 4-6 minutes. Continue to assemble the casserole and bake as directed in step 4.

TOPPING
2 slices whole wheat sandwich bread, torn into quarters
1 Tablespoon butter, melted

FILING
Salt
1 large bunch broccoli, about 2 pounds, florets trimmed to 1″ pieces, stalks peeled and chopped medium (about 8 cups)
3 Tablespoons butter
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1  1/2 cups whole milk
8 oz colby cheese, shredded (about 2  2/3 cups)
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1  1/3 cups)
ground black pepper

1.  For the topping:  Process the bread and butter in a food processor fitted with the steel blade until corasely ground, about six 1-second pulses; set aside.

2. For the filling: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 Tablespoon salt and the broccoli, cover and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and leave the broccoli in the colander; set aside.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, mustard, and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour turns golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whist in the broth and milk; bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until large bubbles erupt at the surface and the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the colby and cheddar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Spread the broccoli in a 9×13″ baking dish.  Re whisk the cheese sauce briefly and pour over the broccoli.  Sprinkle with the breadcrumb topping. Bake until golden brown and bubbling around the edges, about 15 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

VARIATION:
Broccoli and Cheese Casserole with Roasted Red Peppers

Add a 13-oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped medium, to the seasoned sauce in step 3.

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Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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