Broccoli-Risotto Casserole with Lemon and Parmigiano Reggiano
Makes one 9-inch casserole that serves 4-6
This was the first dish I cooked in our apartment in New Hampshire. Tasked with making Thanksgiving dinner for the three of us (wife Kristin, stepdaughter Peyton, myself), I slipped inside the mind of a fictitious Italian “nonna” quarantined in against her will with a house full of Thanksgiving traditionalists. This is one broccoli rice casserole that will stun those looking for the typical Campbell’s soup enhanced gloop (and thrill anyone who likes real food).
- 1 small head of broccoli, broken up into florets, stems included
- ¼ cup GOOD olive oil (I use California Olive Ranch) +more for the top
- 1 small yellow onion, small dice
- 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced
- 1 ½-2 cups arborio rice
- ½ cup or so white wine (NOT cooking wine, ew…)
- 1 ½ quarts homemade chicken stock (see The Caritas Cookbook)
- 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano + more for the top
- 1 teaspoon (tightly packed) lemon zest
- 5 eggs, separated, whites whipped to stiff peaks just before baking
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 medium-sized saucepans
- Small colander
- 1 small Dutch oven, or large straight sided sauté pan
- Wooden spoon
- Paper towels
- Food processor (for mincing broccoli. You can use a knife)
- Large mixing bowl
- Hand whisk or Kitchen Aid type mixer fitted with whisk attachment
- 9-inch round casserole dish
- Toothpick or a wooden skewer
In one of the saucepans, bring water to the boil, add a few pinches of salt, then the broccoli. Boil the broccoli for 5-6 minutes, or until tender. Drain in the colander under cold running water until cool. Dry the broccoli with paper towels then place into the food processor. Process to a rough paste.
In the other saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil and immediately turn it off.
In the Dutch oven, add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook on medium heat until fragrant. Add the rice and toss around the pan with the wooden spoon for a minute or so. Add the wine and stir constantly until it evaporates. Add the warm stock a little at a time, stirring frequently, until the rice is fully cooked but not mushy (takes about 22 minutes). Add the ½ cup Parmigiano, butter and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Combine the broccoli paste and cooked risotto in the mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest and 5 egg yolks and mix well. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the broccoli/risotto mixture until fully mixed. Place the casserole in the 9” dish and sprinkle a thin layer of Parmigiano on the top and a few drizzles of olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The casserole will be done when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.