cheesy cauliflower recipe

Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower Gratin

Gratin is just another way of saying cheesy cauliflower. I love cauliflower. I also love cheese. Bringing the two of them together is a classic combination.

I decided to make a cauliflower gratin for dinner yesterday. When I started, I remembered one I had made a few weeks ago. It was for a dinner with a couple of my friends. It tasted great, but was a little too watery.

The problem is, I wanted the cauliflower to be cooked, but not cooked to mush. I just steamed it for a few minutes. It was tender, but still pretty firm.When it cooked in the cheese sauce, it cooked a little more and became more tender. This is a good thing. Unfortunately, it gave off water as it cooked and thinned the sauce too much.

I wanted to try again, with a thicker base sauce, to offset the water in the cauliflower. We were so pleased with the final dish. Creamy, cheesy and not watery at all.

I have to admit, I almost chickened out when I saw how thick the base sauce was. But, I figured if it was too thick, it would still taste good.

I forgot to measure the cauliflower before and after steaming. I had to take a good guess at how much chopped up cauliflower there was. A little more or less won’t matter that much. I had a pretty good size head of cauliflower. I guessed at 8 cups raw, but it could have been 10 cups.

So here is the recipe- I hope you give it a try.

 

Cauliflower Gratin

 

1 medium head of cauliflower, stems trimmed off and cut into bite sized pieces- you should have about 8 cups

6 T. butter

6 T. flour

1 c. half and half- you could use cream or milk, if you prefer

6-8 oz. cheese- cubed, shredded or sliced- any cheese that melts will work. I used a combination of cheddar and Muenster

Salt and pepper to taste

Hot sauce to taste

½ c. bread crumbs

2 T. butter

 

Steam the cauliflower until just tender. I steamed mine in the microwave for 6 minutes. It took me two batches to steam it all. Place cauliflower in a mixing bowl and set aside. In pot heat the butter until melted and stir in the flour until smooth. Add the half and half and cook, over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture thickens. It is going to get REALLY thick. Don’t freak out. When the mixture cooks with the cauliflower, the cauliflower will give off more liquid which will thin out the sauce. Once the mixture gets bubbly, cook over very low heat another couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and add the cheese. Stir occasionally, until the cheese has melted. You can turn the heat on if you need to for a minute or so. Trust me, be patient, the cheese will melt. Spoon the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and mix it together as best you can. Add seasonings, if you like. Place cauliflower mixture in a baking dish. I used a deep dish pie pan- and it fit, but I had to push it down a little. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and dot with the 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until it gets all bubbly and starts to brown a little. This takes about 25-30 minutes.

Let it sit a few minutes before you try to eat it. It is really hot.

 

Cheesy Cauliflower Mash

Cheesy Cauliflower Mash

Cheesy Cauliflower Mash

If you are looking for a fun way to serve cauliflower you might try serving it mashed. I know people who started serving mashed cauliflower as a lower carb option for mashed potatoes, but they are good enough to make just because they taste so good. I found myself with a very large head of cauliflower and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. My friend Jonathan helped me to decide. I mentioned the cauliflower to him and he reminded me how much he likes cauliflower mash. So I made this for him.

 

 

I started by cutting up the cauliflower and boiling it until tender. I drained it and then mashed it up a little. When you do that some of the cooking water will come out. Drain it off. I then started adding all the yummy stuff. Butter, a whole stick, and 4 ounces of cream cheese. The heat of the cauliflower helped to melt the cheese. Then I added some salt and pepper and a healthy dash of hot sauce. I made it cheesier by shredding 4 ounces of sharp cheddar into the mix. As I stirred it in the cheese melted. I felt it still needed something. I added a cup of shredded Pecorino Romano cheese and added some green onions and fresh chopped parsley, too. What can I say? I tasted great.

 

You can serve it with or without gravy. Sometimes I put it in a casserole dish and add bread crumbs and extra butter on top and cook in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and a little brown on the top.

 

No matter how you finish it off, cheesy cauliflower is an easy and tasty way to serve this very versatile veggie.