This is a classic to go with all holiday meals.
1 1/2 pounds haricots verts or thin green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
4 ounces pancetta or bacon
9 cups sliced stemmed shiitake mushrooms and/or sliced cremini or button mushrooms (1 1/2 pounds)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or light cream
1 5.2ounce package semisoft cheese with garlic and fine herbs, broken into pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 recipe Crispy Shallots or 1 cup canned french-fried onions
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large shallots or 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup total)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 2 1/2- to 3-quart au gratin or baking dish; set aside. In a 12-inch skillet cook beans in enough lightly salted boiling water to cover for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Transfer beans to a large bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain again.
In the same skillet cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Remove from skillet, reserving drippings; drain on paper towels. When cool, finely crumble or chop pancetta; set aside.
Meanwhile, add mushrooms, garlic, and thyme to drippings in skillet (if using pancetta, you may need to add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil); cook and stir for 5 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and liquid has evaporated. Stir in pancetta, the 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add mushroom mixture to beans, gently tossing to combine.
For sauce, in a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add half-and-half all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Whisk in the semisoft cheese, the 1/8 teaspoon salt, and the 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat; stir in wine. Pour sauce over green bean mixture, stirring gently just until combined. Transfer green bean mixture to prepared baking dish.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and beans are tender. If using, top with the French-fried onions during the last 5 minutes of baking. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir green bean mixture. Sprinkle with Crispy Shallots.
If desired, preheat oven to 375 degrees . In a small saucepan heat oil over medium-high heat. Dip a small handful of sliced shallots in milk, letting excess drip off. Toss shallots in flour; shake off excess flour. Place coated shallots in hot oil. Cook about 2 minutes or until golden and slightly crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper towels to drain; if desired, sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with remaining shallots, milk, and flour. If desired, line a baking sheet with foil; place shallots on prepared baking sheet. Reheat for 10 minutes before topping casserole.
Make Ahead Tip
TO MAKE AHEAD:
Assemble bean and mushroom mixture as directed through Step 3. Cover; chill for up to 24 hours. To serve, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 2 1/2- to 3-quart au gratin or baking dish; set aside. Prepare sauce; toss with green bean mixture to coat. Place in prepared dish. Bake, covered, 20 minutes. Uncover, bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until beans are tender. Omit Crispy Shallots. Top with the canned french-fried onions; bake for 5 to 8 minutes more or until bubbly and beans are tender.
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 449, Fat, total (g) 24, chol. (mg) 49, sat. fat (g) 10, carb. (g) 50, Monounsaturated fat (g) 4, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 5, Trans fatty acid (g) 0, fiber (g) 7, sugar (g) 3, pro. (g) 12, vit. A (IU) 1214.76, vit. C (mg) 15.35, Thiamin (mg) 0.3, Riboflavin (mg) 0.55, Niacin (mg) 4.15, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0.45, Folate (µg) 104.83, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 0.24, sodium (mg) 613, Potassium (mg) 532, calcium (mg) 131.26, iron (mg) 2.88, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet