Cavolfiore Gratinati {Cauliflower au Gratin}

Cauliflower doesn’t really do much for me on it’s own, BUT add some loverly creamy bechamel sauce, some homemade breadcrumbs & the King of cheese Parmigiano Reggiano & well count me in! This dish will hopefully make you think twice about Cauliflower & should get even the pickiest of eaters in your house to change their minds as well. I know my kids lurve this! They call them white trees (& yes they refer to broccoli as green trees) I think it’s cute & well they’re eating them so I’m a happy camper.

The first time I had Cavolfiore Gratinati was (don’t be shocked now) in Italy ; ) It was within the first few weeks of arriving &  my Italian was lets just say BASIC! I smiled a lot & said grazie (thank you) & si’ (yes) … We were at the trattoria for dinner & this sweet woman came to take our order, after being hypnotized by her melodic voice I caught Cavolfiore, molto bene, molto bene…I of course had no idea what Cavolfiore meant but before I could stop myself si’ si’ si’ grazie spouted out & she disappeared off to the kitchen. I did vaguely remember thinking that Cavallo meant HORSE & well was hoping that wasn’t what I had just agreed to. I went on faith, I mean after all she did say it was going to be VERY GOOD, VERY GOOD! & I wasn’t disappointed. I mean come on, look at this dish…

It’s a super side dish that I know you’ll be making again & again! Heck, I’ve even been known to eat it alone, don’t judge! I usually make mine with homemade bread crumbs. I save the ends from my bread loaves, toast them up, put them into a ziplock bag & smash away! Yep, pretty nifty trick & I get to take out some of my daily frustrations! Can’t beat that ;  )


Print This Recipe

Cavolfiore Gratinati {Cauliflower au Gratin}
What you’ll need:
1 pound bag of Cauliflower
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano – grated

What to do:
1. Into a saucepan add about 1″ of water (enough to steam your cauliflower)  over med-high heat bring to a boil. Season with salt. Add cauliflower and cook until tender (just a few mins). When tender, drain, set aside.

2. WHILE the cauliflower is cooking, into a small sauce pan melt the butter over med-low heat. When melted, add flour and whisk until combined. Gradually add in the milk, whisking as you go. Add nutmeg and continue whisking until sauce thickens.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small-medium ovenproof dish with cooking spray. Place the cauliflower into the dish. Pour the sauce over. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Season with salt/pepper. Sprinkle Parmigiano Reggiano on top. Bake for approx 30-35 minutes or until bubbly & golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Buon Appetito!



  1. 1

    Yum! My hubby claims he doesn’t like cauliflower, but I bet this would change his mind. 🙂

  2. 2

    Nutmeg, that’s new to me. Looks fab, will be trying out that nutmeg add, thanks!

  3. 3

    Oh yeah, this is a great way to fix cauliflower. I always make my own bread crumbs, too – I just grind them up in my food processor!

  4. 4

    Oh this looks delicious. I might have to make this to go with our lasagna tonight.

  5. 5

    Anything with cream sauce and crispy bread crumbs is a winner in my book. I make my own bread crumbs, too. I keep a bag in the freezer, filled with bread loaf “ends.” When I need crumbs, I just defrost a few slices and whiz in the food processor.

  6. 6

    My hubs claims he hates cauliflower, but I am sure he will love this dish. I can’t wait to try it out on him!

  7. 7

    WAHOO! One of my fave homecooked meals in France was a similar dish. I CAN’T WAIT to try the Italian version!

  8. 8

    I’m wondering if I can get my husband to try cauliflower with this recipe.

  9. 9

    I’ve got a big head of cauliflower in the fridge and now I know what I’ll do with it.

  10. 10

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  11. 11

    Cauliflower is so versatile and easily takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with. This is a perfect dish – very comforting.

  12. 12

    Love gratins! This looks fabulous my dear!!

  13. 13

    Both purple and white cauliflower are in the vegetable market in
    sicily so this is a very timely post for me. Thanks.

  14. 14

    Nice winter dish, nice to be reminded how nice this is1

    I make home made breadcrumbs too, and when I haven’t any my favourite thing is to crush up some grissini, extra crisps and so easy.

    No good for taking out your frustrations though.

  15. 15

    ah…I’ve been obsessed with making bechamel sauce lately! I used to be able to eat huge steamed bags of cauliflower but now find I need to season them…this looks like a fantastic option. Though, I’m also thinking I may through a little Amore pesto pace into the mix… what do you think?

  16. 16

    I made this tonight and found I needed to make an adjustment in the flour to butter ratio. I added in 3 Tablespoons more in 2 tbsp of cold milk when the sauce would not thicken with the measurements as written. Just an FYI.

  17. 17

    I made this tonight! It was incredible, and so easy. I blogged about it here: Thanks for the great recipe!

  18. 18

    I’ve been eating this since I was a kid, and it’s my favorite way of eating cauliflower even if I love it plain too. I also make a cheddar version of it, with sharp cheddar melted in the bechamel and more on top.

  19. 19

    i made cauliflower au gratin the other night, but a different version. check my facebook page (notes) for the recipe and photo if you want to compare. cooking/roasting cauliflower makes it so YUMMMY!

  20. 20
    Shannon /

    I love cauliflower – we usually just roast it though! However, for a splurge, I look forward to trying this dressed-up version soon !

  21. 21

    This was FABULOUS!!! I just happened to have a new Le Creuset pan and was waiting for the perfect occasion to try this. It was easy and delicious, but beautiful enough for company. Thanks so much and I LOVE your site!

  22. 22

    A beautiful recipe for jazzing up cauliflower! Love it!

  23. 23

    I love your blog! This recipe is so simple, will try it.

  24. 24
    Christy Broxton /

    Cooking this now — looks AH-MAZING!!! Can’t wait to try it. I’ll let you know how it turns out!!

  25. 25

    I love Cauliflower! I bet this is unbelievable. I do not get to make it often. My husband hates cauliflower.

  26. 26
    Courtenay /

    OK, I have hated cauliflower all my life until I tried this creamy, tasty dish. Where have you been all my life? I think I could have eaten the entire dish all by myself….can’t wait to fool my kids. Another fabulous recipe Paula!!

  27. 27
    lisa bailey /

    Vegetable heaven!


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