This dish was decadent and fabulous, and also pretty easy to make, as most recipes from Ina Garten usually are. I originally saw the recipe on From Mommy’s Kitchen, and Ina’s original recipe is online too.
Basically it’s a macaroni and cheese recipe, subbing cauliflower for the pasta. Perfect.
I was feeling very rushed when I started cooking this dish, but it’s a simple recipe so I dove right in. All of a sudden I realized “Ack! I’m making a roux!” I had no time to freak out because I had to keep stirring, and the milk wasn’t hot yet (just warm it up in a glass measuring cup in your microwave) and oh I totally forgot to grate the Gruyère. So, let that be a lesson to you: have everything prepped and ready to go before your flour hits the melted butter, OK?
There were only puny cauliflower heads in my supermarket, so I bought a tiny head plus a medium-sized one to make 3 pounds total. If it had been a cauliflower from my CSA, I might have had to double the sauce to accommodate it’s size!
This recipe won rave reviews from me and J.’s sister, mom, and grandma. The boys wouldn’t try it. It is definitely rich enough to stand as a vegetarian main dish. I served it with a simple spinach, egg, and mushroom salad.
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Cauliflower Gratin
1 (3-lb.) head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 c. grated Gruyère cheese, divided
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook cauliflower florets for 5 minutes, until tender but firm. Drain well and spread evenly in a 9×13 casserole dish.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the pan and, with a whisk, continue stirring until milk comes to a boil. Whisk constantly for about 1 minute more, until thickened, and then remove from heat. Mix in ground pepper, nutmeg, half of the Gruyère, and the Parmesan cheese. Stir until combined and the cheese melts.
Pour cheese sauce evenly over the cauliflower. Then sprinkled remaining Gruyère over the top. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot.