Creamy Cauliflower Gratin

  • Yield: 4-6 servings


1head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 5-6 cups)
2ounces pancetta, diced (omit for vegetarian)
1 shallot, diced
1tablespoon unsalted butter
2tablespoons all purpose flour (or Wondra*)
1clove garlic, sliced thin
1/2teaspoon red pepper flakes
1cup 2% mlk
1/2cup finely grated, Manchego (or Parmesan)
1/4teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4cup Panko crumbs (or fresh-made bread crumbs)


  1. Preheat ove to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes. Then drain in a colander and transfer to a buttered 9×13 baking dish.
  3. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a small bowl. Lower the heat to medium. Add the shallots to the rendered pancetta fat and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic slices and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and add to the bowl of pancetta.
  4. Melt the butter in the same skillet over low heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Continue whisking for 2 minutes to cook the flour. Slowly add the milk, using the whisk to stir continuously until the milk is incorporate and there are no lumps. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the manchego, pepper and nutmeg. Then add the pancetta mixture, stirring to combine.
  5. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower, stir gently to evenly coat. Sprinkle with panko. Bake about 25 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

*Note: Wondra can be a life-saver when it comes to making gravy and sauces.


Recipe courtesy of Priscilla Willis of She’s Cookin. As the food writer, recipe developer, and photographer behind simple and seasonal recipes with a heart healthy focus Priscilla also features dining reviews highlighting healthy options, the occasional indulgence to drool over, and delicious Travel Eats from near and far.