Grits Casserole with Pesto Butter

The classic Italian basil sauce freshens a down-home favorite. Beaten egg whites give the grits a light, airy texture; the casserole will rise as it bakes but then fall shortly after coming out of the oven. Use caution as the grits cook on the stovetop; they tend to spatter, so stir them with a long-handled wooden spoon.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup casserole and about 2 teaspoons pesto butter)
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 219
  • Calories from fat: 28%
  • Fat: 6.8g
  • Saturated fat: 3.7g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.4g
  • Protein: 11.8g
  • Carbohydrate: 27.5g
  • Fiber: 0.8g
  • Cholesterol: 18mg
  • Iron: 1.4mg
  • Sodium: 458mg
  • Calcium: 272mg

Ingredients

  • Pesto Butter:
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • Casserole:
  • 4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large egg whites
  • Dash of cream of tartar
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. To prepare pesto butter, place first 5 ingredients in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Scrape down sides; add butter. Process until well combined. Cover and chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°.
  3. To prepare casserole, combine milk, 1 cup broth, and salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Gradually add grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat; add 1/2 cup cheese and pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Cool slightly.
  4. Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into grits mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Spoon into a 2-quart soufflé dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until casserole has risen and begins to brown. Serve warm with pesto butter.
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