This dish is lovely for many reasons, including its cream and cheese content, but what I love most about this recipe is that it provides a huge helping of comforting richness while still getting in a mega-serving of vegetables.
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 20minutes
Cook Time 30minutes
Total Time 50minutes
Author Stephanie Stiavetti
1large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 1/4cupswhole milk
1/2teaspoonfreshly-ground black pepper
1/2cuppanko bread crumbs
Set the oven rack to the middle and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of a pot outfitted with a vegetable steamer. Cover and set over medium heat. Once the water boils, drop florets into the steamer and cover again, steaming for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Grease the bottom and sides of a small casserole dish and arrange the florets in a layer inside.
Set a small pot over low heat and warm up the milk. Don't let it boil - turn off the heat once the surface starts steaming gently.
Add unsalted butter to a small heavy saucepan and melt over low heat. Add shallot and cook until gently browned, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Whisk in flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir constantly and cook until the roux turns a good beige color and starts to smell cooked. Whisk in milk and heavy cream and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce coats the back of your spoon. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the pecorino. Pour over florets in casserole dish.
In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, melted butter, and remaining pecorino. Stir well and sprinkle over the top of the florets. Bake for 20 minutes, until gently browned. Serve immediately. If you like, you can sprinkle the top with more pecorino and slide under the broiler for 1 minute to create a crisper topping.