1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of flour
3 cups of whole milk
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of ground mustard
2 cups of cheddar cheese
1 cup of fontina cheese
1 cup of gruyere cheese
1 cup of parmesan cheese (+ 2 tablespoons for topping)
Panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Serving size- 6
Approximate time to make- 30 minutes
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Take out a large pot, fill with water, and bring to a boil. Season with salt and then add the cauliflower florets. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened. Drain and set aside.
3. Then, make your cheese sauce. In the same pot you boiled your cauliflower in, melt the butter. Once it's melted (and not browned) sprinkle in your flour. Cook for 2 minutes so that the raw flour taste cooks out. Then, add your milk and bring to a boil. Whisk frequently until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes (or more depending on your stove). You want to make sure it has a nice, thick consistency.
4. Once the sauce has thickened, add the cayenne, nutmeg, ground mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Then, turn off the heat and add in your cheeses. If you don't have fontina or gruyere, you can use all cheddar and it'll still be delicious! You could add goat cheese or cream cheese to give it a tangy flavor, too. The cheese combination is up to you. Mix until the cheese has melted and you have a smooth, creamy cheese sauce. Taste for seasoning here and add more salt and pepper to your taste.
5. Add the cauliflower florets back to the pot with your cheese sauce and mix until everything is incorporated. Then, pour the mixture into a 13x9 baking dish. Add 1 cup or so of panko bread crumbs plus 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese to a bowl and mix together. Then add the bread crumb mixture to the top of the baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Top with fresh thyme when it comes out of the oven and enjoy!