Cheesy-Creamy Baked Cauliflower

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower with Fusilli

This is a recipe I modified from a 2008 Bon Appétit magazine article. The original recipe called for Comté cheese, which I found hard to find locally. I substituted Gruyere and Fontina cheeses which are located at most markets and are super tasty on their own.

If you can find Comté, use it. I substituted sour cream for the original crème fraîche ingredient. I like the extra bite sour cream gives to this dish. Also, I also use fusilli pasta in place of the penne that the original recipe called for. I like the way the fusilli’s nooks and crannies hold the sauce. I’ve made it with penne, but much prefer fusilli. Whichever pasta you choose to use, it is good either way.

I love this combination of fresh cauliflower, tomatoes, and tasty aged cheeses. As cauliflower and tomatoes start to mature in your garden, think about serving this to friends and/or family. Serve with crusty French bread and your choice of crisp white wine.

3 cups cauliflower florets
5 tablespoons butter (divided)
3 large heirloom tomatoes (diced)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Salt to and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1½ cups Gruyère (grated)
1½ cups Fontina (grated)
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
10 ounces uncooked fusilli pasta
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Place cauliflower in large pot of boiling salted water and cook until crisp-tender, about three minutes. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Melt two tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and sauté until they begin to brown (about five minutes). Add diced tomatoes and green onions. Cook for one minute and then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Melt two tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir for two minutes. Gradually whisk in cream. Cook until sauce thickens, occasionally whisking (about four minutes). Add one cup of the Gruyère and one cup of the Fontina cheeses. Whisk until melted and the sauce is smooth. Whisk in ½ cup of the Parmesan, then whisk in sour cream and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return pasta to same pot. Stir in cauliflower mixture and sauce. Spoon in half of pasta mixture; sprinkle with remaining Gruyère and Fontina cheeses. Top with remaining pasta mixture. Melt remaining one tablespoon butter in small skillet. Add breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Remove from heat; mix in remaining ¼ cup Parmesan. Sprinkle crumbs over pasta and bake, uncovered, until heated through and bubbling (about 35 minutes).

About Valley Vegetarian

The fresh chef providing consistently good vegetarian comfort food recipes.
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