Pairing roasted cauliflower with a punchy cheese sauce makes for a next level cauli cheese.
Wave goodbye to soft, mushy cauliflower!
I don’t know about you but I find boiled cauliflower rather boring. Which is why, for this recipe we are roasting it instead! Cooking it this way means that we will end up with cauliflower with a much better flavour & texture.
To prep, first we remove the leaves then cut the cauliflower into evenly sized florets. Next we coat the cauli in oil, salt & pepper then roast in a hot oven until a nice golden brown colour.
Then it’s onto the sauce…
The Cheese Sauce
A good cheese sauce should be super smooth & creamy, flavoured with a punchy mustard & be packed full of cheese. For this recipe, I’ve used a mixture of parmesan & cheddar. Feel free to use different cheeses though! If you want your sauce to have a stronger flavour, I’d go for a cheese like gruyere or an extra mature cheddar. If you want a stringy sauce, throw in some grated mozzarella. It’s entirely up to you!
For the sauce. we’re making a cheesy béchamel or mornay. First we make a roux out of melted butter, plain flour & mustard powder then we add in milk, cooking it out slowly until thick.
The final step is to flavour the sauce, in this case with English mustard, nutmeg & a load of cheese.
We then place the roasted cauliflower into an oven proof dish & pour the hot cheese sauce all over.
The key to a great cauliflower cheese is topping it with lots of breadcrumbs & some extra grated cheese before cooking. Once baked, your cauli cheese will be crispy & super cheesy! I’d go with a panko breadcrumb to top the cauliflower with but any type of breadcrumb will work fine.
Roasted Cauliflower Cheese
- Large Oven Proof Dish
- 1 Large Cauliflower Or 2 Small
- 50 g Unsalted Butter
- 50 g Plain Flour
- ½ tsp Mustard Powder
- 800 ml Whole Milk
- 100 g Mature Cheddar Grated
- 100 g Parmesan Grated
- 1 tsp English Mustard
- Nutmeg To Taste
- 50 g Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp Dried Parsley Optional
- Preheat an oven to 200°c.
- Remove the leaves from the cauliflowers & cut into florets. Place onto a baking tray, drizzle with vegetable oil & season generously with Maldon salt & freshly cracked black pepper.Roast in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower is starting to soften. Once cooked transfer to an oven proof dish.
- Whilst the cauliflower is roasting, make the cheese sauce.
- First, place the butter into a large saucepan & melt over a medium heat.Once melted, stir in the flour & mustard powder then cook out for 2 minutes.Next, pour in a third of the milk & cook until thick (stirring continuously with either a spatula or a whisk).Once thickened, add in another third of milk. Keep cooking until thick again then add in the remaining milk.Transfer to a low heat & continue cooking until the sauce is smooth, thick & no longer tastes like flour, around 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in half the cheddar & parmesan (reserve the rest for when you cook the cauli cheese), the English mustard & nutmeg. Once the cheese has melted, season with salt & pepper then pour the sauce over the cauliflower.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the cauliflower followed by the reserved cheese & dried parsley (if using).Bake in the oven until bubbling & a deep golden brown, 20-25 minutes.Leave to stand for 5 minutes then serve.
Roast the cauliflower florets in the baking oven on the bottom set of runners for 10-15 minutes. Bake the cauli cheese the same way but transfer to the roasting oven for the final 5 minutes of cooking. I’ve used cheddar & parmesan for this cheese sauce but feel free to have a play with different cheeses.
For a stronger flavour a gruyere would work well or for a stringier sauce, throw in some grated mozzarella. To give the cauliflower a bit of a kick, sprinkle over a pinch of cayenne pepper before roasting.