Bring 5 cups water to boil, add rice and salt. Cover, and reduce heat to VERY low. Allow to simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Do not remove the lid. Turn off heat, fluff, replace lid, and allow to sit until sauce is ready.
Bring another pot of water to boil and add rinsed broccoli florets. Boil for approximately 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is softened but still firm. Drain and rinse in a cold-water bath to stop the cooking.
Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat; add 1/4 cup butter, or olive oil. Once the butter/oil is hot, add onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add mushrooms, and cook for a few more minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through. Add the sausage coins and cook until they are heated through. Transfer the contents of the pan to a plate and keep warm.
In the same sauté pan, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup flour and stir until all the lumps are gone. Cook stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes, allowing the roux to brown slightly, and get a nutty aroma. Add salt and pepper.
Add chicken broth to the roux, stir until combined, and bring to a soft simmer. This will form a type of gravy; once it starts to come together, add the half and half, stirring constantly. Bring to a low boil, and simmer until the sauce is thickened. Approximately 5-10 minutes. Add cayenne and parsley, and re-season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the onion, mushroom, and sausage mixture to the rice pan. Add the sauce to the rice pan, cooked broccoli, and 1 cup of grated cheese. Stir gently to combine. Pour into a large (13X9 or larger) baking pan and spread evenly. Layer with remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes, uncovered. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and serve.
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