I imagine Taylor must have been every mother’s dream: the man LOVES broccoli. Loves it, hands down favorite, orders it at every restaurant. Lately, we’ve been talking about Thanksgiving, and because we won’t be able to spend it together this year, (my family is from Ohio) I’ve been thinking about having our own mini-Thanksgiving beforehand. I asked him what his top 5 can’t-live-without-them Thanksgiving dishes are, and without a pause he said, “broccoli au gratin, ya know, cheesy broccoli casserole”.
Broccoli? Really? Mine are like mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie. It’s going to be interesting when we finally combine these two different traditions, but that’s for another time. Anyway, I decided to take a stab at this broccoli au gratin, but since this is a regular old week night I tried to keep it “skinny”. Skinny meaning no heavy cream. Obviously the pound of cheese doesn’t count 🙂
I tried to whip this up from a mix of other recipes in my head. Taylor says it’s nothing like what his grandma makes, but it’s freaking delicious in it’s own right, and now must become a regular side dish in our house. Here’s how it went down:
- Steam the broccoli to crisp tender in either a pot of boiling water with a steamer attachment, or in the microwave for a couple minutes. You want them nice and bright green. After they cook, you can put them in the bottom of a greased-up casserole dish. Seasoned with S&P of course 😉
2. Next, we’re going to make our “skinny” au gratin sauce. Forget the part where I say 4 tablespoons of butter, melted. Then whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour to create your thick creamy sauce.
3. Add a cup and a half of 2% milk (THE SKINNY PART), onion, garlic, nutmeg, (the flavor without the calories) and CHEDDAR CHEESE YAAAAAS.
4. Now make sure it’s nice and smooth and melty….and then pour it over your broccoli. Hellllllllo.
5. Next, combine equal parts breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, and sprinkle it over the top.
After it bakes it looks like this and it’s so freakin good and cheesy and golden brown and we ate all of the servings. The end.
- 4 heads broccoli, chopped into small florets, (about 8 cups)
- salt and pepper
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1½ cups 2% milk
- ½ white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Coat an 8"x 8"x 2" (or similar) pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Chop broccoli into small florets. Steam broccoli, (seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper) for 5 minutes until crisp tender, either in a large pot on the stove with a steamer basket or in the microwave.
- Drain the broccoli and add it to the bottom of the casserole dish in an even layer.
- Empty the pot you used for the broccoli, and return over medium low heat.
- Melt 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of butter in the pot.
- Add 3 tablespoons of flour to the butter, whisking constantly for 1 minute.
- Add in the 1½ cups of milk to the butter and flour, whisking constantly for 1 more minute until there are no lumps.
- Stir in the garlic, diced onion, a pinch more of salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and the cup of shredded cheddar. Whisk until the cheese is melted.
- Pour the milk and cheese mixture evenly over the broccoli.
- In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the casserole.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.