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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables and one my husband is actually happy to eat (bonus!)  I usually roast it, but we had some friends from out of town come over for dinner and I wanted to dress it up a bit.  So naturally I turned to The Barefoot Contessa and whipped up her cheesy cauliflower gratin.  The result. . .crispy topping, cheesy filling and soft, creamy cauliflower underneath it all. 

I would add a bit more spice the next time around. . . but all in all, it was a great side dish for a cold, winter evening with friends.

Original recipe from Ina Garten can be found here.  My additions in orange.


  • 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk  (I used 1 cup 2% milk and 1 cup whole milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I used pecorino romano becuase I had it on hand)
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (I used whole wheat bread crumbs. .  . panko would be delicoius as well)
  • I would suggest adding 1-2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper to the milk mixture to give it a little kick

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.

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, red pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.  Let it rest for a few minutes before serving so that everything can firm up a bit.

Prior to baking. . . I added a smidge extra cheese on top. . . why not?!

Golden Brown, Bubbly and Delicious!

Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

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