Cauliflower Gratinata

  • Author: Flavia Scalzitti


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets and washed
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided and at room temperature
  • 1 recipe béchamel sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon plain breadcrumbs
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add in the salt, stirring to dissolve it completely in the water. Add in the cauliflower and cook it for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until the florets are easily pierced with a paring knife or fork. Drain the cauliflower through a colander and run cold water over the florets until they are completely cooled. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  3. Make the béchamel sauce.
  4. Grease an oven-proof casserole dish with ½ Tablespoon of the butter. Spread ¼ cup of the béchamel sauce into the bottom of the dish. Add in the cauliflower and spread the florets out in an even layer. Pour the remaining béchamel sauce over the florets. Use a spoon to gently toss the florets to coat them evenly in the sauce.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the Parmigiano-Reggiano  with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the cauliflower, finishing with a sprinkle of the nutmeg over the breadcrumb mixture. Dot the top of the florets with the remaining ½ Tablespoon of butter.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until the breadcrumb mixture has browned lightly and the béchamel sauce bubbles gently. Serve hot.


  • The cauliflower can be cooked a day in advance and refrigerated (drained and dried) in a tightly sealed container.
  • Use a stock pot or soup pot that is large enough to accommodate the amount of cauliflower you are cooking, as it needs plenty of room to “swim” around in the water to cook evenly.