I have been starting to prepare for thanksgiving day and though it is stressful, finding a successful recipe always makes it a day worthwhile. I really cannot tell you how creamy and delicious this entree is! It starts off with the aroma of pesto, only to find the crisp of the bread crumbs and then the tender cauliflower submerged in creaminess. I am a big fan of pesto because it can merge into almost any form from casseroles, gratins, sandwiches to pastas. On thanksgiving day there has to be one dish that brings everything together and I would say this is it! The pesto has a flavor but does not overtake the dish and therefore all your other sides will merge well with this.
The white sauce in this dish is really the true winner and makes even a bland vegetable like cauliflower ever so delectable. Cauliflower is cooked in many forms in my household however this dish is so powerful that I do not even need anything on the side. Since this is made for thanksgiving purposes I did not add anything else to this bake but on a normal day if pasta and cauliflower would be combined this would make for a meal on its own. I hope you and your guests enjoy the savoriness and creaminess of this dish!
1 Whole Cauliflower (Chopped into 1 x 2 inch pieces)
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese (Shredded)
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
2 Tablespoons of Butter
1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons of Pesto (Store Bought)
Salt & Pepper
1 Cup of Bread Crumbs
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of All-Purpose Flour
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On medium heat, drizzle olive oil in a skillet. Add in the chopped cauliflower. Cook for 5-7 minutes and then combine the pesto with the cauliflower. Also, sprinkle in the salt and pepper. This will cook for another 5-7 minutes until tender but should not be too soft since it will bake further in the oven. Then set aside. In a separate skillet, start by heating on medium heat with butter, add in the all-purpose flour when melted. Mix well with a spatula and when it starts to form homogenous crumbles pour in the milk. Let it come to boil and stir constantly and slowly. You will notice that the sauce has become thicker, continue to stir making sure there are no individual pieces of the flour crumbles. Then add in the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Add the cooked cauliflower into a baking pan and then pour the white sauce on top of it. Then sprinkle mozzarella cheese and then finally bread crumbs. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Top with fresh basil!