SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - This is a recipe perfect for Easter brunch. I hope you will try it and come to enjoy it as much as I do. Enjoy and Happy Easter!
2 small yellow squash
2 small green squash
1 1/2 cups shredded potatoes
1 1/2 to 2 cups broccoli florets, coarse chopped (fresh)*
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 clove minced garlic (optional)
1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp Herbs de Provence, divided (or dried mixed herbs of your choice)
4 tbsp olive oil, divided plus extra for baking dish
2 to 3 tbsp flour
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 cup fat free Half & Half
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 cups panko bread crumbs
2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano Parmesan cheese, divided*
9x13 glass baking dish brushed lightly with olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Using the shredding disc of your food processor, shred the yellow and green squash and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the shredded potatoes, chopped broccoli, chopped onion and garlic. Place two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet heat to medium high. Add the vegetable mixture and season with the salt and one teaspoon of Herbs de Provence and cook until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat using a slotted spoon and place vegetables into prepared baking dish. Set aside.
In a two-quart sauce pot, heat the remaining olive oil on medium. Add the flour and stir using a wire whisk or wooden spoon. Cook for just a few minutes, but do not let the mixture (or "roux") brown. You just want to cook the raw flour taste out. Next, add the pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Combine the fat-free Half & Half with the broth. Heat the fat-free Half and Half in the microwave until hot, before adding to the roux (this should be done just before starting the roux). Add heated broth-Half & Half mixture to the roux a little at a time, stirring constantly. Once sauce has thickened, stir in one cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. When the cheese has completely melted and is fully incorporated, remove from heat.
Pour half of the sauce over the vegetables in the baking dish. Use a large fork to stir the sauce into the vegetables. Then, use the fork to smooth the top, but not perfectly smooth. Combine the Panko bread crumbs, remaining cheese and Herbs de Provence. Toss to combine and pour remaining sauce over top of casserole. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top. Cover with foil.
Place covered casserole into a 400 degree preheated oven and cook for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and cook until top is brown, crunchy and bubbling around the sides. Test to see if cooked through by inserting a knife in the center and remove about a teaspoon taste to see if vegetables are done. If not, reduce heat to 375 degrees and cook until desired doneness is reached.
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
*Buy Parmigiano Reggiano in whole wedges and grate the cheese yourself before using rather than buying pre-grated, because the cheese can lose flavor rather quickly.
*If using frozen broccoli, thaw and drain first before chopping.
*When you add warmed liquid to the roux it prevents lumps from forming and makes for a smoother, lump-free sauce and reduces the cooking time.
Interesting Fact: Made from skim milk, Parmigiano Reggiano has a fat content of around 30 percent, which is relatively low for cheese. An ounce has 110 to 130 calories, and is a good source of calcium.