I like Broccoli Rice Casserole in its old-fashioned form just fine, but I couldn’t just couldn’t resist changing this one up. I kept all the basics the same: there’s still broccoli, there’s still rice and there is definitely still cheese, so old-fashioned recipe purists, no getting mad at me. The first recipe I tested, I used plain Jane white rice, but it just felt like something was missing. Almost as if the broccoli…(gasp)…deserved better. I’m not trying to come off as some kind of casserole home-wrecker, but it was practically begging for more. Wild rice has a wonderfully pronounced and nutty flavor profile and makes a lovely companion to almost any green vegetable, but cozies up especially well next to broccoli.
Now, I know some of you (well, if you are anything like me) are about to skim the ingredients listed below and determine whether or not this casserole is really for you. And, I also have a feeling, one of those ingredients could potentially stop you in your track. That infamous ingredient? Anchovy paste. So let me do a little defending before you hit that little “x” in the righthand corner. In this recipe, anchovy paste provides a savory and well-received depth of flavor. Another little advocacy for the anchovy, is that, yes, on its own it possesses a fishy quality, but when mixed with other flavorful ingredients, it is simply what I like to refer to as a “flavor enhancer.” If you like Caesar dressing, then you my friend, are down with anchovies, because guess what? You can’t make a good Caesar salad without it. So give it a try! I mean…don’t try it, like, right out of the tube. Speaking from experience, that’s a regrettable move. But, for sure, give it a try in this recipe.
- 2 c Perfectly Cooked Wild Rice
- 2 Crowns of Broccoli
- 1/4 c Unsalted Butter separated
- 1 Yellow Onion finely diced
- 2 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 2 c Whole Milk warmed
- 1 tsp Anchovy Paste
- 9 oz Fontina Cheese freshly grated
- 3 oz Parmesan Cheese freshly grated
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter melted
- 1 c Panko Bread Crumbs
Preheat oven to 375° and have ready a 1 1/2 qt, greased baking dish.
Make wild rice according to recipe, or packaging instructions, and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
To trim the broccoli, remove any leaves that remain. Turn the crown upside down on the cutting board. Using a paring knife, begin cutting the florets from the stem. If the florets you cut away are fairly large, or branch off into more than one floret, either cut it in half or into individual smaller florets. The goal is for all of the pieces to be about the same size.
Fill a saucepan with about a ¼” of water and place steamer basket inside. Note, the water should not come up high enough to touch the bottom of the steamer basket. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Add the broccoli and place lid atop. Allow to steam for 10-13 minutes, depending on the size of your florets. Remove from the heat and remove the lid. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp of butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté 5 minutes, or until just softened. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir. Add milk in a splash at a time, whisking after each addition, until it resembles the texture of pudding. At this point, stream in the remaining milk, whisking all the while. Remove from the heat.
Place a 1/4 c of the sauce in a small bowl and whisk in the anchovy paste until well-combined. Transfer back into the saucepan and stir in 1 1/4 c Fontina, a 1/4 c of Parmesan, pepper, salt and nutmeg.
Roughly chop the cooled broccoli and add to the wild rice, along with the cheese sauce. Stir to combine. Transfer mixture to the baking dish. Top with remaining Fontina and Parmesan cheese.
In a small bowl, microwave remaining 2 tbsp of butter in 30 second intervals, until melted. Stir in Panko crumbs just to moisten. Evenly scatter across the top of the casserole and bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until the edges are bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Allow to cool slightly, serve and enjoy.
Makes 8 servings.
Would pair well with:
Whole Roasted Chicken, Roasted Turkey, Baked Barbecue Chicken, Chicken and Mushrooms Burgundy, TAK Dinner Rolls, Warm Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad, Decadent Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Baby Dutch Potatoes