Culinary Caravan's May Recipe of the Month

Lite Broccoli au Gratin (serves 8-10)

Adding a small amount of lite cream cheese to this recipe will give you all the creamy flavour and texture of a classic au gratin, but with a lot less fat.

4 stalksfresh broccoli, florets only
1 tbspextra virgin olive oil
1 cupred onion, finely diced
2 clovesgarlic, minced
1 1/2 cupsmedium béchamel sauce (recipe follows)
2 ozlite cream cheese
1/2 cupwhite old cheddar cheese, grated
1 tspdried mustard powder
1/2 tsp EACHsalt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbspbutter, melted
1/2 cupPanko Japanese breadcrumbs
  
Medium Béchamel Sauce
2 tbspfat-reduced margarine
2 tbspall-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups1% milk

Preheat oven 350F. Spray a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with vegetable spray and set aside.

In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, blanche broccoli florets for 3-minutes. Drain and immediately plunge florets into a large bowl of ice water to stop cooking process. Drain well and arrange in the bottom of prepared baking dish.

In a skillet over medium heat, add extra virgin olive oil and onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Remove skillet from heat and let onion mixture cool, then sprinkle evenly over florets.

For béchamel: In saucepan over medium heat melt fat-reduced margarine. Add all-purpose flour and cook 1 minute whisking frequently until all the flour has been absorbed by the margarine. Whisk in 1% milk and continue cooking 5-8 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Add cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Continue whisking until cheeses melt and are completely incorporated into sauce. Pour over broccoli/onion mixture. Combine melted butter with Panko breadcrumbs and sprinkle evenly over broccoli/béchamel.

Bake in preheated oven 30-35 minutes, or until broccoli is tender and Panko topping is golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.



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