Gratin is a French word for almost any food topped with a browned saucy mixture in a semi-shallow dish. This is comfort food for me. It’s warm, bubbly, cheesy, and turns poor boring cauliflower into your best friend for a meal. I remember it from my childhood, but even as adults, I am sure we are just as susceptible to enjoy any food topped with a bechamel sauce and cheese, right? Of course, there is alot of room to personalize this dish. A variety of cheese may be inserted (blue cheese? goat cheese? ricotta?), or a crunchy layer of breadcrumbs on top may be added. Or using all low-fat ingredients to decrease calorie intake.
Cook the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 minutes, until tender but still firm.
Drain, set aside
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil.
Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.
Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella.
Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.
Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top.
Top with the remaining mozzarella and the cream.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned.
Serve hot or at room temperature.