Yes, you read that correctly. A casserole recipe! On MY blog. I don't dislike casseroles, but I don't love them either. The closest thing to a casserole I make is my Godmother's homemade Italian macaroni and cheese. In fact, I never had cream of anything soup in my pantry. I have nothing against them, it's just not what I like to cook. I do, however, make an exception for green bean casserole. I. LOVE. IT. SO. MUCH. There is something about it that warms me up inside and reminds me of Sunday dinners with my Grandma and Grandpa Appicelli or the rare nights it would make an appearance on our dinner plates in the Nido kitchen. I always forget how much I love this stuff and as I was flipping through my November issue of Southern Living, this recipe caught my eye (and my heart). It's a new twist on an American classic and with a few healthy swaps, you're left with a side dish that's filled with fresh ingredients and everything made from scratch. The sauce is rich and decadent and fresh tomatoes add a pop of color and a hint of sweetness. I made a few changes to the recipe to make it even healthier and adding caramelized shallots to the top added another dimension of flavor that was oh so delicious. This is a grown up version of a childhood favorite and I am in love.
Home-Style Green Bean Casserole
recipe adapted from Southern Living
1.5 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed
1.5 Tbsp. butter
1/8 cup all purpose flour
1.5 cups skim milk
1 Tbsp. Ranch dressing mix
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
1 8 0z. package fresh sliced mushrooms
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook green beans in boiling water, 4-6 minutes, or until desired (I like my beans crisp). Drain and plunge in ice water; drain and pat dry.
Melt 1.5 Tbsp. butter in a medium, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and whisk in Ranch mix, thyme, salt and pepper. If you need to thin it down, add an additional splash of milk.
Drizzle olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and saute the mushrooms for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. When they are done, set aside, and in the same pan, saute shallots until translucent and caramelized.
Gently toss mushrooms and green beans in sauce. Place in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Combine shallots, panko and diced tomatoes, then sprinkle over the beans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.