Broccoli + Cheese Rice Casserole
- Gluten Free
Why we love it:
- 1 Yellow Onion (small dice)
- 3 Carrots (small dice)
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
- 11⁄2 cups Basmati Rice (White)
- 1⁄2 cup Orzo Pasta (uncooked)
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme (plus more for topping)
- 4 cups Vegetable Stock (chicken stock if you have/use that)
- 1 bunch Broccoli (roughly chopped, stems and florets, it should be about 3-4 cups)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly cracked)
- 8 ounces Cheddar Cheese (shredded, divided)
- 1⁄2 Lemon (zest only)
- 1⁄2 cup Whole Milk
1. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 425 DEGREES
2. ONION + CARROT
Peel and dice the onion into small dice. Scrub and dice the carrots into a similar size.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the veggies and a pinch of salt and cook for about 2 minutes so they begin to sizzle a bit.
3. RICE + ORZO
Measure out the rice and orzo. Add to the pot with the butter and cook until the grains are lightly golden and toasted, about 3 - 4 minutes. Meanwhile, strip the thyme leaves from the woody stems using your thumb and forefinger. Add the thyme leaves, reserving a few for garnish later.
Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
While you’re waiting for the boil, chop the broccoli. Chop up the florets but also dice some of the stem. Use the paler green parts and if there are any browned or woody parts, you can trim that off. If you have more broccoli than you can use, either reserve some florets for a simple side dish another night and go stem heavy, or reserve the stems and look up the Broccoli Soup recipe.
Add the broccoli to the pot with the garlic powder, cayenne, and the rest of the salt and the pepper.
Bring to a boil again, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook covered for 20-25 minutes, until the rice is mostly cooked through.
If you didn’t buy it shredded, now’s the time to grate the cheddar.
7. CASSEROLE DISH
Once the rice is cooked, stir in the lemon zest, milk, and ½ cup of cheese. Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top the casserole and add any reserved thyme leaves.
(if refrigerating or freezing - stop here).
Transfer to the oven and bake 15 - 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and just beginning to brown.
*If you prepped ahead, place dish on the counter while the oven heats and bake for up to 25 - 30 minutes to heat through.
*If you froze it, make sure to defrost at least overnight and for up to 3 days before baking.
Scoop generous portions into bowls or shallow plates. Leftovers are simply heated in the microwave.