Inspired by classic green bean casseroles from his childhood, F&W's Justin Chapple put a Spanish spin on this timeless favorite by topping the creamy beans with smoky pimentón de la Vera and toasted almonds.
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4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 1/2 pounds green beans
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 garlic clove, finely grated
5 ounces fresh goat cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
3/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350° and butter a shallow 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish. In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the green beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Pat dry and thinly slice on the diagonal. Pat dry again.
In a medium saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, whisking constantly, until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the goat cheese. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the pimentón.
In a large bowl, toss the green beans with the sauce. Spread the mixture into the prepared casserole and sprinkle the almonds and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pimentón over the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbling and the almonds are lightly browned. Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes before serving.
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