Cauliflower In Roasted Tomato Bechamel


I am thoroughly enjoying our celebration of fall vegetables lately, and I am proud to say that we only ate meat once last week at home, and that was because I wanted to try a lamb recipe for my InstantPot. The lamb was delicious, but I am back to focusing on plant-based meals for the near future. We have a three-night spa trip planned for next week that includes a three day cleanse, so I am trying to prepare light meals in anticipation. This spa trip was my Birthday gift last January, but I hurt my knee, and we had to postpone it. It should be interesting!

Last week, one of the vegetable dishes I prepared was this cauliflower in a tasty sauce. I had been thinking about this variation of a basic béchamel sauce for a long time, and finally got around to making it and boy am I glad I did. This sauce was delicious on cauliflower but would be an excellent sauce for many other dishes including baked pasta. I roasted whole tomatoes in reasonably high temperatures until they began to blister and char. I then blended the tomatoes into my béchamel sauce along with some grated parmesan cheese. The roasted tomatoes added a great flavor to the usually pretty ordinary sauce and really dressed up blanched cauliflower. I finished off the dish in the oven topped with some sliced almonds for texture and some extra parmesan cheese until everything was bubbly and lightly browned. This recipe is one the whole family will enjoy, even children who do not think they like cauliflower!

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2017

Ingredients:

  • 1 Head Of Cauliflower Cut Into Bite Sized Florets
  • 6 Golf Ball Sized Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

For The Béchamel:

  • 4 Tablespoons Of Butter
  • 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • Salt
  • White Pepper
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

To Finish:

  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 Degrees F.
  2. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet, and roast until the skins are blistered and begin to blacken, about 15 minutes.
  4. Blanch the cauliflower in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until tender crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Drain the cauliflower and set aside.
  6. To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat, and once it is completely melted and bubbling,  about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  8. Cook for a minute or two until the flour just begins to take on some color.
  9. Slowly start adding the milk, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming.
  10. Continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  11. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  12. Decrease oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
  13. Place the tomatoes and sauce in a blender along with the grated parmesan cheese and blend until creamy smooth.
  14. Place the cauliflower in an oven-proof casserole dish and pour the sauce on top.
  15. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and sliced almonds, then bake until bubbly and lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  16. Serve immediately and enjoy!