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Cauliflower Au Gratin with Smoked Gouda

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

Smoky and cheesy. Cauliflower never had it so good!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Divided
  • 1  Large Onion, Medium Dice
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 head (3 Lb. Size) Cauliflower, Cored And Cut Into Florets
  • 1 teaspoon Salt, Or To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Very Warm Milk
  • 6 slices Bacon, Cooked Crisp And Chopped (See Note)
  • 2 cups Finely Grated Smoked Gouda, Divided
  • ⅓ cups Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley For Garnish
  • Special Equipment: Brasier Or Deep Frying Pan With Lid

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter a 9- x 9-inch casserole dish, set aside.

Heat a braising pan or a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and half of the butter; swirl to thoroughly coat bottom of pan. Add the onion and cook for two minutes, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Add the cauliflower florets to the onions and garlic; stir to incorporate. Sprinkle with salt, paprika, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cover pan, lower the heat source to medium low and cook until cauliflower is crisp tender, stirring as needed.

Sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the vegetables. Stir lightly until the flour is well incorporated. Pour the warm milk over the vegetables. Add the chopped bacon. Raise the heat source to medium. Cook and stir until sauce has thickened.

Turn off heat and remove pan to a cool burner. Fold in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese (reserve the remaining half cup for the topping) until melted and sauce is smooth. Pour cauliflower mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Melt the remaining half of the butter. Add the panko breadcrumbs into a small bowl. Pour melted butter over the bread crumbs and toss lightly to coat well. Add the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and toss lightly. Sprinkle the topping evening over the cauliflower mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes until hot and bubbly and topping is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley prior to serving.

Notes:
1. The bacon can be cooked in the microwave. Place several layers of paper towels on a plate, put bacon on top of the paper towels, then place a paper towel on top of the bacon to catch spatters. Cook for 1 minute on high per slice of bacon.
2. This recipe can work well for a variety of vegetables; mix or match as desired for a total of 5-6 cups. Suggestions: carrots, broccoli, potatoes, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, turnips.

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