My family has never embraced the tradition of eating that infamous green bean and mushroom soup casserole that is so popular on Thanksgiving. Mushrooms are a no-no for most of us and I vowed that canned soup, in any shape or form, would never cross my lips again. Ever.
So this year I took it upon myself to start a new tradition and build a green bean casserole from scratch with flavors that everyone would love.
This starts with fresh green beans and a basic béchamel sauce made with a roux of butter and flour. The sauce is seasoned with onion, garlic, red pepper and thyme. Italian favorites.
Mozzarella cheese gives it an ooey-gooey creaminess and buttery Ritz crackers mixed with Parmesan cheese makes for the best golden brown, crispy crust.
This is a tradition I can open my arms wide for!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 2 quart casserole dish or a 9x13 casserole pan. Gently steam the green beans just until tender but still firm. Arrange in pan.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Whisk in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, whisk in milk, bring to a simmer, stir in red peppers and cheese. Turn off heat and stir until cheese is melted. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Taste and re-season if desired.
- Pour the sauce over top of the green beans. Crush the crackers into crumbs and melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, combine along with Parmesan and sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbly all over and golden on top.
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