Cauliflower Gratin

One dish meals are the ultimate in comfort food. And cauliflower mixed with rice and a cheese sauce and then topped with more cheese and bread crumbs screams mid-winter simple preparation and high carbohydrates. Which, let's face it, is exactly what we all crave come February.

The husband was away with his friend up in Fort Bragg, so I had license to cook what I liked and to eat it whenever I pleased. I'll admit, popcorn featured as a dinnertime meal one night. Another night I had a smoothie. 

I am not ashamed.

However, I made this little recipe from The Sprouted Kitchen's sophomore cookbook Bowl and Spoon. Admittedly I halved it so I would have only one night of leftovers, and I make that statement with a great deal of regret. I should have made the whole recipe and then indulged in this one dish meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

I will also admit I intended to make a lovely, crisp salad to accompany this dish. I did not. That, I do not regret. 

Thusly, my dinner was just pure, clean, comfort food. 

And it was good.


Cauliflower Gratin

4 Servings (with a salad for a meal)

2 pounds cauliflower florets
1 cup cooked rice (brown is great, but any kind of rice is fine)
2 Tbsp butter
2 large cloves of garlic
1/4 onion, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 to 1/3 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup + 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square pan.

2. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and steam for 5-7 minutes. Combine the cauliflower and rice in a mixing bowl and set aside.

3. In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, salt and pepper, and saute until softened.

4. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk, stirring to combine. Turn the heat down to low and let thicken. Add the nutmeg, basil, oregano, cayenne (I like it pretty spicy, so I went with 1/3 teaspoon; you make your call). Stir in 1/2 cup of Parmesan and 3/4 cup of Gruyere just until melted.

5. Pour the warm cheese mixture over the cauliflower and rice, add another few pinches of salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Pour into the baking dish.

6. In a medium bowl, stir together the 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/4 cup Gruyere, bread crumbs, olive oil, and additional salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese and bread crumb mixture atop the cauliflower.

7. Bake for 20 minute, or until the edges start to bubble. Turn the heat up to 500 degree, and cook for 6-10  minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Remove and let col slightly. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.


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