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Cauliflower Gratin with Manchego, Marconas and Piquillos

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Cheesy, nutty and smoky, this turns the notion of cauliflower-as-bland-veg on end.


3 cups cauliflower florets

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups whole milk

2 cups grated Manchego cheese, divided

1/2 cup Marcona almonds, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup piquillo peppers, chopped

3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Salt and pepper

Blanch cauliflower in salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat butter in a large, hard-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add milk and continue to cook, stirring, until boiling and thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add 13/4 cups cheese, stirring until sauce-like and melted.

Add almonds, cauliflower, peppers and parsley and mix to combine. Season generously to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a shallow, buttered casserole dish, topping with reserved cheese. Bake until bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with pork chops, grilled fish or chicken.

Adapted from Lisa Futterman,Pastoral (Ran Nov. 3)

Nutrition facts per serving: 605 calories, 43 g fat, 25 g saturated fat, 108 mg cholesterol, 26 g carbohydrates, 14 g sugars, 30 g protein, 1,802 mg sodium, 4 g fiber

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