Monday, January 26, 2009

Casserole Crazy: Broccoli, Cheese, and Rice Casserole

Ever since I was child, and I first tried the cheesy rice and broccoli casserole they served at the cafeteria, I was hooked. I loved it. It had everything I loved in it. It was creamy and cheesy and perfect. Only problem? The only recipes I could find called for Velveeta, the non-cheese cheese. That quickly put a stop to my consumption. Who knew I loved plastic cheese so much??

Just recently I received a new cookbook to review called Casserole Crazy. And guess what just happened to be in the book? A recipe for Broccoli, Cheese, and Rice Casserole, with NO Velveeta. Just good 'ol Cheddar in this one. And it cooked up just as creamy and rich as the original, with no lingering chemical flavor. Perfect comfort food when the weather's kinda nasty and you need something nice in your tummy.

Note: I used 2 cups of rice (mostly because I didn't want to throw the extra out), and it turned out just fine. The original recipe calls for 1½ cups.

Broccoli, Cheese, and Rice Casserole
Adapted from Casserole Crazy by Emily Farris

1 head of broccoli (about 2½ cups), chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup baby Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk or half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups cooked long grain rice

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bring a medium pot of water with 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add the chopped broccoli and cook, covered, for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In the same pot over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil, adding more olive oil as needed, until the onion is translucent. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 1 minute, then add the butter. When the butter melts, add the flour and mix quickly and thoroughly. When the butter and flour are fully integrated, slowly add the milk, stirring constantly. Salt and pepper to taste, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the milk mixture is hot, but not boiling, slowly add all but ½ cup of the cheddar cheese, stirring constantly. When the cheese begins to melt, add the rice and stir until everything is thoroughly mixed. Add the broccoli, salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat, and transfer to a 2½-quart baking dish and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Remove from the oven and top with remaining cheese. Bake 5 to 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and golden on top.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

2 comments:

finsmom said...

This sounds fantastic! Yum!

Kevin said...

A broccoli, cheese and rice casserole dose sound really good!