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Cauliflower Sformato

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Serves 6 to 8

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 107

A sformato is an Italian version of a soufflé. If you like, you can bake the cauliflower mixture in individual ramekins or gratin dishes; just reduce the baking time.

For more side dish recipes visit The Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner.

  • 1 small cauliflower (about 2 lb.)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil; more for the gratin dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-3/4 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2/3 cup grated on the small holes of a box grater)
  • 3-3/4 cups whole milk
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Core the cauliflower and separate it into florets. Cut the florets into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Put the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Spread in an even layer, season with 1/2 tsp. salt, and roast until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool.

Raise the oven temperature to 400°F. Brush an 8x10-inch (2-quart) gratin dish with olive oil and evenly coat with about half of the Parmigiano. Set aside.

Heat the milk in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until just about to boil.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture turns light golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Slowly add the hot milk, whisking constantly until very smooth. Bring just to a boil and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Add 1 tsp. salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes to develop the flavor. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and extra-virgin olive oil. Roughly chop 1/2 cup of the cauliflower, and purée the rest in a food processor. Stir the chopped cauliflower, cauliflower purée, egg mixture, and the remaining Parmigiano into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared gratin dish and bake until the sformato is just set and browned around the edges, about 30 minutes. It should jiggle just a little when you remove it from the oven. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 330; Fat (g): fat g 26; Fat Calories (kcal): 230; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 12; Protein (g): protein g 10; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 16; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 320; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 175; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Decent recipe. Lots of prep but the flavor was really not worth it. Probably will not try this again.

A lot of time in the prep of this dish. It was a decent flavored dish (better the next day). ~ If I where to make it again I would use more chopped Cauliflower in the dish for flavor and texture.

I thought this recipe was fantastic. Nice change from some form of potato. As mentioned, it was a little labor intensive, but sometimes the good recipes are. Although after making once, I think it would be easier next time. I would add a bit more cauliflower than it calls for if I made it again. But overall the flavor, consistency and taste were excellent.

My family likes cauliflower steamed with cheese sauce, I hoped this recipe would be a new way to prepare it that they'd like even more, but they liked it less. Preparation was time-consuming and the results were OK but not worth the effort. It would be a good vegetable dish to bring to a pot luck, you could prep at home and keep warm, and it would be different from the usual options.

This was good, but took a lot of prep time. Tasted better the next day.

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