These little broccoli cheese casseroles pack a lot of flavor in a tiny package! Three cheeses and Italian sausage combine with perfectly cooked broccoli to make a broccoli bite you’ll want to keep eating and be happy to serve to guests.
Like most of the other vegetables out there, I love broccoli and it’s a vegetable we serve with dinner at least once a week. Usually I just steam it or roast it simply in the oven, but sometimes I want to try something different. Something like these broccoli bites. 🙂 I came across a recipe for these a few years ago and it seemed like such a great and easy idea. But they were never quite right. The broccoli tasted old and tired. They were dry. The flavor was ho-hum. So disappointing! As my husband said, they tasted like appetizers for a party you didn’t want to be at. And I couldn’t argue with him.
But I knew there was a recipe I could love here, if only I could find it. And then it came to me. I was out shopping for winter clothes with my daughter (we got her the cutest coat and turtle fur!) and thinking about the issue and all of sudden I had an image of ricotta cheese broccoli bites and I knew that was it. Or at least the beginning. Ricotta to provide moisture to mix. Parmesan, cheddar, and sausage to provide the kick of the flavor it needed. Barely cook that broccoli before chopping it up. And then bake it just until the bites were set and starting to brown around the edges and not a minute more.
Now this is a recipe I can happily eat myself and happily serve to guests. A recipe that is worthy to put on my blog and share with all of you.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- ½ lb broccoli, cut into florets
- ½ lb sweet Italian sausage
- ½ small onion, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ½ tsp paprika
- Preheat oven to 400F. Pull out a 24 well mini muffin pan.
- Blanch the broccoli for 1 minute only in boiling water. Drain and immediately put into cold water. Once the broccoli is cool, drain again and then blot thoroughly using a kitchen towel to remove as much of the water as possible. Chop the broccoli into small pieces.
- Saute the sausage over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add onion and salt, continuing sauteing until the onion is soft and the sausage is fully cooked, about 7 more minutes. Add garlic, stir, and remove skillet from heat.
- Whisk together ricotta and eggs in a large bowl until smooth. Then stir in parmesan, cheddar, cream, parsley, and paprika. Add sausage and broccoli and mix well.
- Divide the mixture among all the wells in the mini muffin pan, pressing it down a bit to pack each well and letting it mound over the top a little. You should have just enough of the mixture to fill each well.
- Bake the broccoli bites for 12-14 minutes, or until they are just starting to brown and the middle looks set. Don't bake them for more than 14 minutes.