winter vegetable crisp with white beans

This winter crisp with its velvety cheese sauce reminded us of mac & cheese.

By: Anna Decker / 01/28/2016

Except we swapped out pasta for our favorite winter vegetables—cauliflower, leeks and fennel—and soft cannellini beans. A golden breadcrumb top adds a lovely crisp to the tender veggies. Cook, relax and enjoy!

What you will need: 1 lb cauliflower 10 oz fennel bulb 11 oz leeks 3 oz Gruyère 0.1 oz fresh thyme sprigs ¾ cup panko 2 Tbsp butter 6.75 oz milk 2 tsp mustard powder 14-oz can cannellini beans coarse salt olive oil all-purpose flour freshly ground black pepper

Equipment: large pot box grater saucepan strainer baking dish

Recipe steps: 1. Prep vegetables Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut stem from cauliflower then cut into florets. Trim end from fennel then cut into thin wedges through the core. Trim dark green ends and root from leek. Cut in half or quarters (if large) lengthwise then into 3-inch pieces crosswise. Soak leek in a bowl of cold water to remove grit.

  1. Cook vegetables Preheat oven to 425°F. Add cauliflower and fennel to boiling water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add leek and continue cooking until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup water.

  2. Make topping Finely grate Gruyère. Remove leaves from thyme stems. Combine panko, ⅓ of the cheese, half the thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper and 3 tablespoons oil.

  3. Make sauce In a saucepan over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Whisk in 2 tablespoons flour and cook, whisking, 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk then ¼ cup reserved cooking water. Whisk in remaining cheese and thyme. When cheese is melted, stir in mustard powder and season with salt to taste.

  4. Finish vegetables Drain and rinse beans. Add to vegetables and gently fold in cream sauce.

  5. Bake crisp Lightly oil a baking dish. Add vegetables and cream sauce and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake until golden and bubbling around the edges, 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

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