Holy cheese is this dish good! Cauliflower Cheese. Cauliflower. Cheese. It’s like macaroni & cheese, with cauliflower instead of pasta. The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, so of course it’s good, even one of my kids thought so.
I was thinking you could make a gluten-free version of this—if you’re into that kind of thing—by substituting the 4 tablespoons of flour with whatever flour-free people substitute flour with. It would be a nice way for a person who doesn’t eat wheat pasta to feel the love that is macaroni and cheese.
• Cauliflower Cheese •
from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 4 as a side
1 medium head (about 2 to 2 1/4 pounds) cauliflower
4 tablespoons (55 grams or 2 ounces) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons (30 grams or 1 ounce) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons mustard powder (resist the temptation to skip this ingredient)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper or ground cayenne
2 cups (475 ml) milk, whole is best but low-fat will probably work just fine
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (about 155 grams or 5 1/2 ounces total) grated cheddar, the strongest you can get, preferably English or Irish (plain old cheddar will work in a pinch)
Chopped chives or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Trim cauliflower and remove tough core. Cut into 1 to 2-inch florets. Steam (for about 10 minutes) or par-boil (6 to 7 minutes) florets until firm but tender. Drain, if needed, and spread florets on a towel so that it can wick out as much moisture as possible
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk to combine; cook for 1 minute to ensure you get rid of the floury taste. Add mustard powder and a pinch of cayenne or few grinds of black pepper, and stir to combine. Drizzle in milk in a thin, steady stream, whisking the whole time so that no lumps form. Season with salt and bring mixture to a simmer, stirring with a spoon; mixture should thicken. Stir in 1 1/4 cups cheddar, a handful at a time, letting each handful melt before adding the next. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings if needed.
Spread cauliflower florets in a 2-quart baking ovenproof baking dish. Spoon sauce over florets and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake until until bronzed and bubbly, about 30-35 minutes.
Sprinkle with herbs, if desired.