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A creamy sauce is just a few tablespoons of butter away
I’m cutting it close here, yes; tomorrow is July 1 and I’m JUST getting this newsletter out the door. Does it count? Well, since it’s only me I’m answering to, yes! We were dog-and-cat-sitting for John’s parents for a few weeks while they traversed the Swiss and French Alps (yes, they are WAY cooler than us), so things have just been a crazy whirlwind of fur and cat litter.
But amidst the working, walking the dog and the laborious task of petting the cats (jk, I love Missy!), I did manage to rummage up some good meals (and John did, too—the guy’s a virtual pizzaiolo!).
One that stuck out was a simple side dish that used a ramshackle, cheater’s bechamel as a base for turnip greens and cannellini beans. Would Antoine Careme throw up his nose at me at this quick version of a sacred sauce? No doubt. But it tastes good, so… sorry Antoine.
Topped with a crunchy, buttery breadcrumb topping and it was a luxurious dish, indeed.
Creamy Greens and Beans with Bechamel and Buttery Breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 small garlic clove, grated
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch greens, rinsed, stems removed and cut into thin, bit-sized ribbons (I used turnip greens but use any greens you have on hand; even broccolini would be good here!)
For the topping:
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
a generous grating of parmesan (about 1/4 cup)
salt and pepper
First, make the bechamel…
Preheat the oven to 420 degrees with rack in upper third of the oven.
Heat a large stainless steel/oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and allow to melt completely before scattering in the flour and whisking vigorously. Continue cooking and whisking until the mixture begins to look light brown. Add the grated garlic, then slowly whisk in the milk and heavy cream. Stir in the grated parmesan, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until a runny pudding-like consistency, about 2-3 minutes more.
Then, add the greens and beans…
Gently fold in the greens and beans into the bechamel, then set aside.
Next, make the topping…
Place breadcrumbs in a bowl and pour over the melted butter. Stir to combine, then add a pinch of salt, pepper and the grated parmesan.
Now, put it all together…
Scatter the breadcrumb mixture on top of the bechamel-greens-beans mixture in your oven-safe skillet. Place skillet in the oven, and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden and the casserole is bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.