I think there is something to be said for leaving room for dessert. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing I like more than a giant plate filled with tummy filling carbs. However, too many times when we entertain, we prepare too many filling, rich foods that our guests end up uncomfortably full, rather than pleasantly satisfied. So, when I'm planning a menu I try to make sure I'm not going to over do it... without under-doing it of course.
This Cauliflower Gratin is a perfect example. It is the almost same sauce as Macaroni and Cheese, but because I knew we were starting our meal with Homemade Soft Pretzels and ending with cobbler and ice cream, I thought I would make a less filling (but just as delicious) version with cauliflower.
Trust me, know one will even consider this a second best - the cheesy sauce is so fabulous and the bubbly crunchy top is addicting.
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 stick of butter
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of flour
2 cups of milk
6 ounces of shredded white cheddar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of butter
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the cauliflower just until barely tender (1-2 minutes), then drain and pour into baking dish - I use a pie dish.
To make the sauce (I used the same pan as I used for boiling) melt butter on medium, then add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Next add 1/4 cup of flour. Stir constantly and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and stir until smooth. Cook for 3-4 minutes on medium low until bubbly and slightly thickened. Turn off heat. Add cheddar and 1/4 cup of parmesan. Stir in until cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more milk, if necessary.
Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower. Top with bread crumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and dot with butter. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until sauce is bubbly and top is browned. You may want to turn on the broiler for 2-3 minutes to get an extra brown top.