Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

This is such an awesome recipe. I didn't quite use the 2 lbs. of broccoli that the recipe called for. I used all of the florets and 2/3 or so of the stems. I also increased the rice by 1/4C and added cream and broth to compensate for the addition. The cayenne pepper gives it just a hint of a kick, another thing I was a little liberal with. I added 5 min. in the oven for a crunchy topping.

2 slices hearty white sandwich bread
3/4C grated Parmesan cheese
4T unsalted butter, melted; + 2T, chilled
1 garlic clove, minced
2 lbs. broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped fine
1-1/4C long-grain rice
1-1/4C half-and-half
1t salt
2C shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/8t cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 400. Grease 9x13 baking dish. Pulse bread, 1/4C Parmesan, and melted butter in food processor until coarsely ground. Add garlic.

Microwave broccoli florets, covered, until bright green and tender, 2-4 minutes; set aside. Melt remaining butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onion and broccoli stems until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, about 1 min. Stir in broth, half-and-half, and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to med.-low and cook, stirring often, until rice is tender, 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in cheddar, cayenne, remaining Parmesan and broccoli florets.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake until sauce is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.


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