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Getty Images / Hearty cauliflower gratin

Prep: 15 minutes | Ready in: 1 hour | Yield: 8 servings

240.6 calories; protein 12.4g 25% DV; carbohydrates 17.2g 6% DV; fat 21.9g 34% DV; cholesterol 35.1mg 12% DV; sodium 462.8mg 19% DV.

Why we love it:

Yes, we know. The heading for this month's recipe selection should be something like Eat Well, in a manner of speaking. The stick of butter called for doesn't exactly jive with healthful eating. But we figured if 2020 can turn everything upside down, why not? 

This recipe promises the kind of delicious indulgence that can soothe a soul, at least temporarily, and that seems to be in keeping with the recipe for this year. Plus, perhaps it will spur you to take a walk or a hike after pushing back from the table. And you can at least take solace in the fact that cauliflower is low-glycemic and chock-full of antioxidants and vitamins.

What you need:

7 tablespoons butter, divided

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

5 ounces truffled pecorino cheese, grated, or more to taste

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 large head cauliflower, cored and separated into florets

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or more to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, or to taste

What you do:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.

2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk flour into butter; cook and stir until raw flour taste cooks off, 2-3 minutes.

3. Gradually whisk milk into flour mixture. Increase heat to medium-high; cook and stir until mixture thickens and comes to a simmer, 5-10 minutes. Stir truffled pecorino cheese, salt, cayenne pepper and nutmeg into milk mixture until cheese sauce is thick.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add cauliflower and cook until slightly tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and transfer cauliflower to prepared baking dish. Spread cheese sauce evenly over cauliflower. Dust with breadcrumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne pepper.

5. Bake until browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh chives.

Cook’s note

To make this slightly healthier, reviewers — one of whom is French — recommend steaming the cauliflower to retain nutrients, and one substituted olive oil for half of the butter. Be careful with the salt, as the cheese will lend a saltiness on its own. If you can’t find truffled pecorino, choose another hard cheese such as regular pecorino, Emmenthal or (white) cheddar. Trader Joe’s sells a truffled cheddar that subs well.

 

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