My Broccoli Rice Casserole is a great side dish, wonderful for the holidays, and perfect for family get-togethers.
I’m using a quick-cooking long-grain white (Basmati) rice because it’s my favorite. You could definitely substitute short-grain rice like Arborio which also would be delicious, it’s a personal preference. I’m also using frozen broccoli florets for this dish.
Most Broccoli Rice Casserole recipes call for sour cream, here I’m substituting Mascarpone cheese because whenever I can add Mascarpone to dishes, sweet or savory, I do.
One other option I’ve added to this recipe is to add a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs over the top of this dish, totally up to you. Let’s get started.
The next step is totally optional. If you prefer a crunchy topping to your Broccoli Rice Casserole follow the steps for toppings in the ingredients list below.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (2-quart) casserole dish, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, colander, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, aluminum foil, medium-size mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, chef’s knife, wooden spoon
Note: One bag of rice makes about 2 cups of cooked rice. I made both bags of rice to ensure I’d have 2 cups of cooked rice.
Note: Flour can sometimes have lumps from packaging or storage. If you find your all-purpose flour is slightly lumpy, sifting the amount of flour you need first is always a good idea.
2 cups of long-grain white rice, parboiled (Basmati, Success Boil-in-a-bag) (substitute short-grain rice, Arborio rice)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 pound (16 ounces) of frozen broccoli florets, thawed, cut into bite-size pieces
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted, extra butter for greasing baking dish
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour, sifted
2 cups of chicken broth/stock, reduced-sodium or unsalted (substitute vegetarian broth)
2 cups of whole milk (substitute 2%)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon for the rice
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
2/3 cup of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature (substitute sour cream)
1 cup (8 ounces) of mild Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese mix (substitute sharp cheddar)
Breadcrumb Topping: Optional
1/4 cup of seasoned Italian-style breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of plain Panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley for topping (optional)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Tip: I like to add Kosher salt and olive oil to the water when cooking the rice. Adding salt to the water will season the rice and the olive oil will prevent the rice from sticking together.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by buttering the baking dish and placing it onto a rimmed baking sheet pan. Fill a large pot with water. Submerge the 2 bags of quick-cooking rice. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the water. Bring up to a boil, add a tablespoon of Kosher salt, cook the rice, according to box directions, only half the time, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, remove the 2 bags, allow the water to drain, open, and dump the parboiled rice into a medium-size mixing bowl. To the same pot of hot boiling water add the broccoli, stir, for 1 minute, drain into a colander, transfer to a large mixing bowl, set aside.
In the same pot, over medium heat, add the butter, onions, and garlic, sweat them for a few minutes or until translucent (you don’t need to develop any color). Add the all-purpose flour (tip: sift the flour if it’s lumpy), stir it all in for a minute, then add the milk and stock. Whisk well to get rid of any lumps. Switch to a wooden spoon, simmer, stirring the whole time until the mixture thickens.
Add the seasonings, whisk them in to combine really well, then add 2/3 of the cheese and Mascarpone cheese followed by the partially cooked and drained rice and broccoli.
Give everything a big stir (at this point the mixture is runny and that’s exactly what you want because the rice will soak up the sauce as it cooks) pour into the buttered baking dish, cover with foil. Transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the foil, sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese (this would be the time to add the seasoned breadcrumb mixture over the top followed by drizzling 4 tablespoons of olive oil) place back into the oven, and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot. There you have it, my Broccoli Rice Casserole.