My husband refused to let me simply roast the special heads of cauliflower we received in our CSA share. When he agreed to eat this indulgent cheesy cauliflower celebration as a main dish, we struck a deal. I added a little bit of pasta to make it more substantial.
We enjoyed this dish with roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, as well as Toscano kale and watermelon radish greens sautéed with garlic, onions and leeks on the side. It truly was a CSA box feast. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home by Ina Garten. I used one and a half heads of my small CSA cauliflower, about two pounds total. The original recipe called for three pounds, so I added pasta to the gratin. I also drizzled olive oil over the top of the dish instead of butter.
Cheesy deliciousness. 🙂
- 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets (I used 2 pounds of cauliflower supplemented with 1 cup orecchiette pasta)
- coarse salt
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 3 T all-purpose flour
- 2 cups hot milk (I used whole milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyère, divided
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
- 1/4 cup panko or fresh bread crumbs
- 1 to 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, preferably on convection.
- Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
- Cook the pasta, if using, about 2 minutes less than the package directions for al dente.
- Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
- Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.
- Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyère, and the Parmesan.
- Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish or another equivalently sized baking dish.
- Place the drained cauliflower on top (and the pasta, if using) and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top.
- Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on top.
- Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the gratin.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.
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