Frankly, just about anything tastes good when it's baked in a cheese sauce. This cauliflower gratin is no exception... in fact cauliflower and cheese sauce seem to be made for each other. The sharpness of the cheese and the subtle strength of the cauliflower marry well for the perfect side dish. When I make this, I forgo the potato. You just don't need it... and when it comes to the meat, simple is best. Let the Cauliflower Gratin shine as the star that it is. If you are a vegetarian (not vegan), this is a very satisfying main dish. Try it... you'll love it!
Notes from the Test Kitchen:
With a nice and creamy cheese sauce, this cauliflower gratin is perfection! It has a sweet and savory flavor that I enjoyed. And, really, how can anything be bad with cheese sauce? I see this on my table again in the near future.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets to boiling water and parboil for 6-7 minutes. Drain and place in a buttered casserole dish. I use a 10 inch round just under 3 inches deep.
Make a white sauce by melting the butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour to the butter and stir with a large spoon to incorporate. Add the heated milk and stir constantly with a whisk over medium heat until the sauce comes to a boil.
Remove white sauce from heat and add all the remaining ingredients, except the breadcrumbs. Whisk well until the cheese is thoroughly melted. Pour sauce over the cauliflower.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the cauliflower and cheese sauce.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.