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June 2005 Issue
Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
by Philip R. Gantt
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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!

I never liked broccoli until I started growing my own. Part of the problem was that I didn't like the smell when my mother cooked it. Now, however, I know that she overcooked the broccoli until it was soft and mushy. When I grew my own broccoli, I found that blanching it quickly in boiling water for only a minute or two was the best ways to cook this vegetable.

Getting kids to eat vegetables can be a challenge. I used this recipe on my kids and it never failed to please them at the table. And, the best part is that there were never any leftovers. Now that my kids are grown, they all love broccoli and especially the cheese sauce.

Of course, you can use the cheese sauce on other vegetables as well. Asparagus, artichokes, squash, carrots and many other vegetables can be complimented with this sauce. When cooking for my children, I always used Velveeta processed cheese as the flavor is somewhat neutral and not sharp. However, you can use other cheeses to give the sauce a different flavor. Cheeses that work best are soft cheeses that melt easily. Grating the cheese before adding to the sauce will facilitate the melting process. Select a cheese that suits your taste.

This recipe makes an excellent side dish for just about any meal.

Now, on to the recipe! Be well, and good eating!

 

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Begin by preparing the cheese sauce. Also bring a pot of water to a boil for the broccoli. Cooking the broccoli will only take a couple of minutes once the water is boiling.
  • 1 head broccoli, cut (allow 1 head for 2 to 3 people)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 lb. Velveeta or other cheese, thinly sliced or grated
  • 1/3 tsp. dried tarragon (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry or white wine (optional)
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is well blended and begins to brown. This mixture is called a roux.

Next add the milk slowly while stirring, until thickened. This process produces a basic white sauce called a b├ęchamel sauce. Once the sauce begins to thicken, add thin slices of Velveeta and continue stirring until the cheese is melted and blended into the sauce. Add salt and white pepper to taste the dried tarragon, stir, and keep the sauce warm over low heat until served. Black pepper may be used if you do not have white pepper on hand. Also, as a variation, you can flavor the sauce with 2 tablespoons of white wine or sherry.

To prepare the broccoli, cut into florets or bite sized chunks, leaving some portion of the stem in tact. Drop the broccoli pieces into the boiling water and remove after 2 minutes or when the water returns to a boil. The broccoli should be a beautiful bright green color and yet still have a crunchy texture. Do not overcook. Drain the broccoli briefly and transfer to a serving dish.

To serve, plate the broccoli and top with a generous portion of cheese sauce. And, if you really like cheese, you can top the serving with a little freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese. Enjoy!

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
 



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