Italian Style Green Bean Casserole

You know the classic green bean casserole that everyone feels the need to make on Thanksgiving and/or Christmas?  Really, the only thing awesome about that casserole is the french fried onions on the top.  I could just eat those out of the can.
Well, maybe it’s time to start a new tradition and make THIS green bean casserole. 

You so don’t have to wait until the holidays to make this. I’ll be making it again no matter what the season.  These were amazingly delicious!  Creamy, cheesy and fresh! 
The only thing I would change is to cut the green beans in half.  I try to control portions and it was hard to cut a portion evenly with the large green beans.

Italian style Green Bean Casserole
Adapted by Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

2 lbs. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
4 tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 red pepper, cut up finely
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
8 oz. mozzarella cheese
25 Ritz crackers, crushed in baggie
1/4 cup parmesan, grated

Gently steam the green beans until tender but still firm.  Place in 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. 

Melt 2 tbsp. of the butter in a pan, add the onions and red pepper and saute for about 5 – 6 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for another couple of minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a simmer but not boil.  Stir in cheese and turn off heat and stir until cheese is melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add just a bit of nutmeg and stir.

Pour the sauce over the top of the green beans.  Melt the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter and combine with the crackers and parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle over casserole.  Bake for 25 minutes at 400 until bubbly and golden on top. 

Total calories = 2565 calories
8 servings = 321 calories per serving