No it isn't cheese made out of cauliflower! Its a fairly classic British side dish which most recipes (IMO) over complicate. My version is quick, easy and tastes like a lot more effort then it is. I most often use frozen precut cauliflower but I have also made this with fresh and depending on the quality of frozen it's generally better.
Serves 4 to 6
- Approximately 1.5lbs/700g cauliflower, cooked until just tender
- 2 tsp butter (or butter flavored spread), plus extra for greasing
- 1 cup/250ml milk
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
- Big pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 cup/80g sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 heaped TBSP corn starch (corn flour in the EU)
- 1/2 cup/40g cheddar cheese, grated (for the top)
- Prepare the cauliflower, put it in a large pot or bowl and set it aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375f/190c, lightly grease a 2quart/2litre casserole dish and set it aside.
- Combine the butter, milk, pepper, salt, seasonings, nutmeg, 1 cup of the cheese and the corn starch in a blender or food processor and blend till well combined. The sauce mixture will look chunky and even curdled, this is how it is supposed to look.
- Put the sauce mixture into a saucepan over medium heat, whisk it constantly until the sauce thickens and all the cheese is melted.
- Remove from the heat and pour the sauce over the cauliflower, gently fold the sauce into the cauliflower then pour into the prepared casserole dish. Smooth it out as best you can.
- Sprinkle over 1/2 cup of cheese and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
- The cauliflower cheese is done when it is pipping hot throughout and the top is golden brown.
- Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving, this stuff is like molten lava when it is strait out of the oven.
- You should be aiming for approximately 1inch/3cm size pieces which are cooked until they are the consistency you like to eat it. If you like your cauliflower mushy by all means cook it till mushy, this recipe will still work!
- There is no need to keep the cooked cauliflower warm before folding in the sauce.
- After the cauliflower is cooked it needs to be in a large pot or bowl for mixing with the sauce.
- You can make this ahead of time and fridge it for a day or even freeze it for several weeks.
- If you cook this from the fridge, cook at 375f/190c for 30 to 40 minutes or until hot all the way through before serving.
- If you cook this from frozen, place it in a cold oven, set the oven to 350f/180c and leave it for one hour, make sure it is cooked and hot all the way though before serving.