This might be another one of those recipes where I’ve already lost half of you with the title. Perhaps the parmesan part has kept some of you skeptics around with juuust enough curiosity to keep scrolling. Cauliflower the bland cruciferous vegetable that most of you say “thank you, next” to. Don’t sell this white vegetable short! It’s a vegetable too, you know! Many who find it repulsive when eaten raw find it quite redeeming when cooked!
This recipe makes it taste like decadent Italian mac and cheese, except, in my opinion, this is even better. That might be partly due to the fact that it’s a vegetable and not pasta, so that means I can eat the entire tray, right?! It’s SUPER easy and quick. I can vouch for that claim as I decided last minute to make this gratin after seeing a cauliflower head hiding in the back of the vegetable drawer that was starting to flake out on me. Don’t you just love when you have the greatest intentions for vegetables that you toss in your cart only to realize a week later that you’ve neglected it and now you HAVE to use it, or else?
This recipe was born from the sheer pressure of having to either cook or toss the cauliflower. It helps that just the night before, I ate a cauliflower gratin at a restaurant and thought, this is 100% doable.
Parmesan Cauliflower Gratin
- 1 head white or purple cauliflower
- 3 tbsps butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c. all purpose flour
- 1 3/4c. whole milk
- 1 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoned optional
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375deg Fahrenheit
- Cut off the outer stem and discard. Then chop the cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces including the inner core. You can even include the leaves! Place in a baking dish.
- In a small to medium pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic, then immediately turn off the stove to avoid burning the garlic. Then stir in the flour until it’s no longer clumpy. You’ve now made a roux!
- Add milk, turn on the heat to medium, and stir gently until the sauce thickens and begins to lightly simmer. You’ve now made a bechamel sauce!
- Add 1 cup of the parmesan cheese. Leave the rest to sprinkle on top.
- Keep stirring until it’s thick and creamy!
- Pour over cauliflower and stir until sauce is evenly distributed.
- Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven, remove foil, evenly sprinkle remaining cheese and panko breadcrumbs, and return it back to the oven for an extra fifteen minutes.
- Garnish with chopped parsley (100% optional) and serve immediately.