Cheesy Cauliflower Bake PRINT
Why this recipe works:
To avoid washed-out flavor in our Cheesy Cauliflower Bake, we simmered the cauliflower florets in white sauce until nearly tender. For a well-rounded sauce, we replaced some of the cream with chicken broth, which added depth and alleviated the cloyingly rich taste of the sauce. Though buttered bread crumbs added nice crunch to the top of our casserole, it needed something more. Cheese and garlic did the trick.
|3||slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces|
|1||cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese|
|1||cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese|
|4||tablespoons unsalted butter, melted|
|3||garlic cloves, minced|
|Salt and pepper|
|2||tablespoons all-purpose flour|
|1¼||cups heavy cream|
|¾||cup low-sodium chicken broth|
|2||large heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into ¾-inch florets (about 12 cups)|
|2||teaspoons dry mustard|
|1||teaspoon dried thyme|
1. PREPARE TOPPING Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Pulse bread, 2 tablespoons cheddar, 2 tablespoons Monterey Jack, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 clove minced garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in food processor until coarsely ground.
2. MAKE SAUCE Heat remaining butter, remaining garlic, and flour in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in cream and broth. Stir in cauliflower, dry mustard, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is nearly tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining cheddar and Monterey Jack until incorporated.
3. BAKE CAULIFLOWER Pour mixture into 13 by 9-inch baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake until crumbs are golden brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve.
MAKE AHEAD: The filling can be refrigerated, covered, for 1 day, after you’ve transferred it to the baking dish (step 3). Refrigerate crumb topping separately. Bring to room temperature before topping with bread crumbs and baking as directed.