After finals, I was craving something warm and gooey to reward myself. Which is funny because all I did over finals was eat my feelings, so I knew this was not a good thing. I found a compromise with this dish. It's a soulful, hearty casserole, but it features spring vegetables! (You can always feel better when there's green stuff in it!) And while it is slightly decadent (there is butter in the sauce after all), it reallyyyy could be a lot worse when it comes to comfort food. And it tastes more decadent than it is. Not to mention it's yummy. Really yummy. I finished the casserole a few days ago, and I'm already craving it again... how is that possible?!
Simply put, this dish rocks. I know that all of us red-blooded Americans are familiar with green bean casserole come Turkey Day, but this dish takes it to the next level with the addition of artichoke and mushroom, and it is seasonal now! So, get your paws on the goods, and get to cooking. I think you will absolutely love this dish!!
Note: This dish pairs very nicely with my Italian Breaded Chicken, and it also utilizes some of the same ingredients, which makes for much easier menu planning! Awesome.
** GREEN BEAN, ARTICHOKE, & MUSHROOM CASSEROLE **
Makes about 6 side servings.
* 1 pound green beans, cut into two-inch lengths
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (suggested: cremini)
* 12-14 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered lengthwise (not marinated; if from a can- buy those in water, then drain, squeeze, and pat dry)
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 cups whole milk
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* Pinch cayenne
* 1/4 cup bread crumbs
* 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded (substitution: Pecorino Romano)
* Preheat oven to 425 F.
* In a large pot of boiling water, cook the green beans for about 5 minutes, until slightly tender.
* Drain, and set aside.
** Note: For a good technique to keep your beans a perfect done-ness, put them in an ice bath for a couple minutes to immediately stop the cooking process, and then drain. Not as necessary for this recipe because the beans will be cooked again the oven, but a very good technique to remember, because they will continue to soften from the heat, even after being removed from the boiling water.
* Saute the sliced mushrooms for about 5-6 minutes, and then give a light sprinkling of salt.
* Using the same pan, melt the butter.
* Gradually whisk in the milk, and bring to a boil.
* Stir in your prepared vegetables (including the artichoke hearts).
* Transfer to a baking dish.