Courtesy of Giada DeLaurentiis. The addition of red pepper flakes gives this cauliflower a bite. If you don't like spicy eliminate the red pepper flakes and you still have an amazing side dish.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces, about 6 cups
- 4 ounces piece pancetta, diced
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups milk
- 1 garlic clove, whole
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1⁄3 cup breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Blanch the cauliflower for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a buttered 9x13 inch baking dish and let cool, about 5 minutes.
- In a small skillet over medium high heat, brown the pancetta. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- In the same skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until combined.
- Continue stirring and cook for 2 minutes to cook the flour.
- Take off the heat and slowly add the milk, stirring continuously until the milk has incorporated and there are no lumps.
- Put back on low heat, add garlic clove and red pepper flakes and stir the sauce over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add the parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg and the reserved pancetta. Stir to combine.
- Pour the sauce over the cauliflower to cover.
- Top with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs.
- Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cauliflower is cooked, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.