24 oz cauliflower florets
4 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups gruyere, shredded and divided
Salt (to taste)
1/4 cup pecorino romano, grated
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1. Preheat oven to 400˚. On a large baking sheet, roast cauliflower for 45 minutes or until fork tender (tossing the cauliflower every 15 minutes). Set aside.
2. In a medium pot over a medium flame, add the butter. Once butter has melted, add garlic, sage, thyme, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. At this point, add flour and stir together to make a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
3. Slowly pour in milk and whisk constantly, until all has been poured and there are no lumps. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for 1-2 more minutes, all while continuing to whisk, until the sauce thickens. At this point, turn off heat and add in 1 1/2 cups of gruyere. Whisk until the cheese is incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Allow to cool a bit, then season generously with salt.
4. Add cauliflower florets to the cheese sauce pot, and stir until completely combined. Taste a bite and season with additional salt if needed.
5. Adjust oven to 350˚. Pour the mixture into a large baking dish or 4 individual gratin dishes. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the gruyere, pecorino romano, breadcrumbs, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper – stir to combine. Top the gratin evenly with this mixture.
6. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (until the top begins to brown). Serve hot.