Given the U.S. Supreme Court's strange and sudden obsession with broccoli, I thought it might be timely to share this delicious and easy-to-prepare recipe, which makes great use of the in-the-news vegetable.
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: For a variation, add a 13-oz. jar of roasted red peppers (drained, rinsed, patted dry and chopped medium) after stirring in the Colby and Cheddar cheeses. From "The Cook's Country Cookbook" by the editors of America's Test Kitchen.
2 slices white sandwich bread
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 large bunch (2 lbs.) broccoli, florets trimmed to 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 c. shredded Colby cheese
1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
To prepare topping: In a food processer, combine bread and butter and pulse until coarsely ground, about six 1-second pulses; set aside.
To prepare filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and broccoli to boiling water, cover and cook until broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain broccoli and leave in colander; set aside.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, mustard and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring occasionally, until flour turns golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until large bubbles erupt at the surface and mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in Colby and Cheddar cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spread broccoli in a 9x13-inch baking pan (or shallow casserole dish of a similar size). Whisk cheese sauce again briefly and pour over broccoli. Sprinkle with bread-crumb topping. Bake until golden brown and bubbling around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes and serve.