This is an easy and reliable recipe from Chef Joshna Maharaj, with a fantastic cheese sauce you can use for a variety of things, including mac and cheese. You can also use different veggies for this, but the cauliflower works really well.
3 lb cauliflower (about 1 large head), cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inch florets
1/2 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves sliced into 1/2 inch ribbons
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
11/2 cups whole milk
6 oz sharp cheddar (about 2 cups), coarsely grated
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion greens
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
20 (2 inch square) saltine crackers
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish and set aside.
- Cook cauliflower in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the kale to the pot and stir well. Drain cauliflower and kale well in a colander and transfer to baking dish.
- While cauliflower cooks, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a slow stream, whisking, and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce heat and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese, scallion greens, salt, and pepper, whisking until cheese is melted. Pour cheese sauce over vegetables and stir gently to combine.
- Coarsely crumble crackers into a bowl. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan. Pour over crumbs and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over cauliflower. Bake gratin until topping is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Yield: Serves 4 - 6 as a side dish