Three-Cheese Cauliflower Casserole
There's no shortage of richness in this casserole. Here, three types of cheese and heavy cream result in something luxurious and comforting, perfect for colder weather. Make sure to drain and dry the blanched cauliflower well, since excess water could break the creamy sauce and make it separate. Serve as a side with any braised or roasted meat or, for a vegetarian dinner, balance it with a salad tossed with a bright, lemony vinaigrette.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- Kosher salt
- 1medium head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), broken into medium florets
- 2tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1cup heavy cream
- ¾cup grated Gruyère cheese
- ½cup grated fontina cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼cup panko or bread crumbs
- 2tablespoons pecorino or Parmesan
- 1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1tablespoon olive oil
- Flaky sea salt, for serving (optional)
Step 1Heat oven to 400 degrees and butter a 2-quart glass baking dish.
Step 2Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the cauliflower until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain and cool.
Step 3In a small saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour until it forms a pale-golden paste, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a low simmer, stirring frequently, until it thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in half the Gruyère and fontina.
Step 4Pat the cauliflower dry then transfer it to a large bowl. Pour the creamy sauce over the cauliflower and stir to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Step 5Transfer the cauliflower mixture to the buttered baking dish, spreading it in an even layer. Top with the remaining Gruyère and fontina. Bake until the mixture begins to bubble and the cauliflower starts to turn golden, about 20 minutes.
Step 6Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the panko, pecorino, thyme and oil.
Step 7Spoon the panko mixture on top of the cauliflower and bake until the topping is crisp, about 10 minutes. Allow the casserole to cool for about 5 minutes or so, then serve. Season with flaky salt, if desired.