Cauliflower, cheddar and prosciutto gratin

How to punish and pleasure a vegetable: Bake it with sauce and pork into brown, toasty, tasty submission

By Launie Kettler

Published April 5, 2011 12:30AM (EDT)

To me, pouring a cheese sauce over fresh vegetables makes as much sense as putting Cheese Whiz on filet mignon. But sometimes cauliflower wants a little company, and the addition of a cheddar cream sauce and crispy proscuitto is just the perfect compliment to an already beautiful vegetable.

Cauliflower Gratin


  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into oversize florets
  • 2 slices of prosciutto, diced
  • 2 cups of hot milk
  • 3 cups of very sharp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blanch the cauliflower in salted, boiling water for 4 minutes, drain and place into an ice bath to keep it from continuing to cook. Let the cauliflower drain in a colander while making the sauce.
  3. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan, add the flour and stir for one minute. Add the hot milk and stir with a whisk to break up any lumps. Add the cheddar while constantly stirring the sauce until all of the cheese is incorporated. Remove from heat.
  4. Sauté the prosciutto and olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until it becomes crispy, but don't take your eyes off of it; it will burn in a nanosecond if it's left unattended.
  5. Add the prosciutto to the cheese sauce and pour over the cauliflower in an ovenproof dish.
  6. Cover the cheese sauce with the grated parmesan, and bake covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for another 20 minutes.

Launie Kettler

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