I got this recipe from my sister in law Dawn, she got it from Cooks Country. She was describing it to me once and it made me so hungry. I like having another meatless meal in my rotation. You could add chicken to it, but I don't think it is at all necessary. I had to double the bread crumb topping, it was too good not to. We had about half the pan left over and I have a feeling it will be even better tomorrow and am already looking forward to the leftovers. This was a big hit at my house, my husband and all my kids loved it and wanted seconds (granted, my four kids all love broccoli). When I first read through the recipe, it seemed like a lot of steps but it really was quite easy to throw together. I will be making this again very soon and suggest you do too. Thanks for yet another delicious recipe Dawn!
Cheese Rice and Broccoli Casserole
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp. butter, melted; plus 2 Tbsp, chilled.
1 garlic clove, minced
2 lbs. fresh broccoli, florets cut into 1" pieces, stems peeled & chopped. Keep florets and stems separate! (2 pounds is about 3-4 medium heads of broccoli)
1 onion, chopped fine
1 1/4 c. long grain white rice
4 c. chicken broth
1 1/4 c. half-and-half
1 tsp. salt
2 c. shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Prepare topping: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 400 degrees. Grease 9"x13" baking dish. Pulse bread, 1/4 c. Parmesan, and melted butter in food processor until coarsely ground. Add garlic.
Make filling: Microwave broccoli florets, covered, in large bowl until bright green and tender, 2-4 minutes; set aside. Melt remaining butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onion and broccoli STEMS (not the florets you microwaved) until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, half-and-half, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until rice is tender, 20-25 minutes. Off heat, stir in cheddar, cayenne, remaining Parmesan, and broccoli florets.
Top and bake: 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.
Make ahead: Filling can be prepared, placed in greased baking dish, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for 1 day. Refrigerate topping separately. Bring filling to room temperature before adding bread crumbs and baking as directed.