Here is the recipe for Cauliflower Gratin, a classic Italian side dish.
Cauliflower gratin is an oven-baked cheesy and creamy side dish, easy and quick to make.
Cauliflower is, unfortunately, one of those vegetables that not everyone likes, especially children, but if we bake it in a rich cheesy sauce and top it with an extra sprinkling of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese it becomes a truly irresistible dish for the whole family.
In Italy, we use to serve the cauliflower au gratin as a side dish of meat or fish dishes, but it is also excellent as a tasty and fragrant appetizer.
In short cauliflower gratin is really a jolly dish that can be served in many ways and occasions.
Personally, for the preparation of this recipe, I use gorgonzola cheese with its strong taste, but if you prefer a less decisive taste, you can also use a cheese with a lighter flavor, such as Fontina, Gruyère, Cheddar or smoked Scamorza cheese.
This depends on your tastes.
How to choose a cauliflower:
A good cauliflower should be firm and tightly closed, the head should be white, with no dark “sunburned” spots.
Reject any heads that show signs of softness, that’s the start of spoilage.
How to prepare cauliflower:
Remove the leaves from the cauliflower. Cut around the underside of the head removing the core.
Detach the florets where they join at the center. Separate the florets by cutting through the base to make smaller florets.
How to cook cauliflower for gratin:
Before baking in the oven, cook the cauliflower in boiling water and then drain it. But I suggest steaming it to keep intact all the nutritional properties of this vegetable intact
For medium-sized florets, check the cooking after 7 minutes. If they still seem too hard, cover the steamer and continue to cook.
Usually, it will take 7 to 10 minutes for the cauliflower to cook through.
Large florets can take up to 13 minutes.
So are you ready to try this recipe?
- 800 gr. Cauliflower florets
- 500 ml. Milk
- 40 gr. Butter
- 40 gr. Flour
- 200 gr. Gorgonzola cheese
- 80 gr. Diced Mozzarella cheese
- 80 gr. Grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pinch Nutmeg
- Ground Black Pepper
- Steam the cauliflower florets for about 10 minutes until tender but still firm and set aside.
- In a saucepan heat, the milk over low heat add the gorgonzola and let it melt.
- Meanwhile, in another saucepan melt the butter over low heat.
- When the butter is melted, turn off the heat and add the flour, mix using a whisk to make a smooth, uniform mixture, known as a roux.
- Add the roux to the hot milk, then add 4-5 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese.
- Season whit salt, fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens.
- Spread 4-5 tablespoons of cheesy béchamel sauce in a roasting pan.
- Add the cauliflower florets and then spread the rest of the cheesy béchamel sauce evenly on top.
- Sprinkle with the mozzarella the rest of the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake in the oven at 170 degrees for about 15 - 20 minutes until the top is browned.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.