Broccoli is one of the best vegetable sources of calcium. Here it's paired with a béchamel sauce thickened with cheese, which boosts the calcium even more. A short boil of the broccoli preserves the bright color for the dish.
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons diced pimientos, drained
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 garlic melba toast rounds
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°.
Cook broccoli in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour, salt, and dry mustard in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat; gradually add the fat-free milk and chicken broth, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook for 8 minutes or until it is thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add shredded cheddar cheese and 6 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in pimientos and pepper. Add broccoli, tossing to coat.
Spoon the broccoli mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Place garlic melba toast rounds in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Combine toast crumbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle evenly over broccoli mixture. Spray top of casserole lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
I don't know why this isn't called Broccoli and Cheddar Casserole, as it uses more of the latter than parmesan. But this was moderately tasty; the first time we ate it, it seemed a bit dry, like it needed more sauce, but the leftovers were better. I cut the recipe in half (only had 1 lb. broccoli), used diced tomatoes instead of pimientos and topped it with bread crumbs mixed with fresh minced garlic. Not all that unique but a good remedy for having too much broccoli sitting around. I served this alongside sauteed tilapia and roasted potatoes.
It was good, but, I had higher hopes. To me, it seemd to be lacking flavor. I think I'll try it again with a few tweaks here and there. Maybe a little tabasco or even a little more of the dry mustard for more of a kick.
Totally awesome recipe. My "tweaks" - omitted the pimentos and used pecorino romano cheese instead of the parmesan. I had a 1/2 spiral ham left over from New Year's and was looking for a creative way to use the rest. I added cubed ham to the casserole to make more of a meal as opposed to a side dish. I'm hoping this re-heats well!
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