Green Bean & Artichoke Casserole

A twist on a traditional recipe. From the December 2008 issue of Everyday Food.

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch lengths
4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups milk (I used skim milk – while the recipe calls for whole milk)
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts in water, drained, squeezed dry and quartered lengthwise
cayenne pepper
salt
ground black pepper
6 slices bread, crusts removed, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degress. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook green beants until tender, 4 – 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Transfer 2 tablespoons to a medium bowl and set aside for breadcrumb topping. To remaining butter in pan, add flour and garlic; cook whisking 1 minute (do not let brown). Gradually whisk in milk; bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer; cook until sauce has thickened, 2 -3 minutes. Stir in green beans and artichoke hearts; season with salt, pepper and pinch of cayenne pepper. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Toss breadcrumbs with reserved melted butter; scatter over green bean mixture. Bake until crumbs are golden brown and sauce is bubbling, 10 -15 minutes.

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