Cheesy Broccoli Casserole
In this casserole, a homemade cheese sauce that’s good enough to toss with pasta replaces the canned creamed soup. When you mix in broccoli florets and cooked rice, then top the whole thing with crushed crackers and more Cheddar, you get a gooey holiday side with a crisp top. Use white or orange Cheddar or a mix of the 2, aiming for a range of 4 to 5 cups, based on how rich and cheesy you’d like it. And while this does contain a lot of broccoli, you’ll probably want to serve a salad on the side.
- Serves: 8 persons
- ¾cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing dish
- Kosher salt
- 3to 4 large heads broccoli (about 3 1/2 pounds), trimmed of long stalks and cut into small florets
- 1 ½teaspoons red-pepper flakes
- 2bunches scallions
- ½teaspoon black pepper
- ¾cup all-purpose flour
- 4 ½cups whole milk
- 5cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 3cups cooked long-grain white rice
- 2cups coarsely crushed Ritz crackers
Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a deep 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Step 2Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bright green. Drain immediately and set aside.
Step 3In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter with 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes over medium heat. When melted, add the scallions, 1 teaspoon salt and the black pepper, and cook until scallions have softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour and stir to combine. Stir constantly for 1 to 2 minutes, until the flour streaks are slightly golden in color, then add the milk in a slow stream, stirring continuously.
Step 4Continue to stir the milk until the mixture is thick and creamy, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add 4 cups of the cheese, stirring vigorously to melt it down into a smooth sauce. Taste and season with salt.
Step 5Add the cooked rice and parboiled broccoli to the pot and stir until evenly coated with sauce.
Step 6Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup grated cheese, Ritz crackers and remaining 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes.
Step 7Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbling. For more color, cook under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, watching carefully. Serve warm.