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- 400ml whole milk
- 1 small onion, peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 35g butter
- 25g plain flour, good pinch of dry mustard powder
- Pinch of cayenne
- 50g extra mature Cheddar grated
- 50g Gruyere grated
- 1 cauliflower
- 50g sliced pancetta
Pre-heat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5. Put the milk in a saucepan with the onion and bay leaf and heat over a low heat until it is almost at simmering point. Remove from the heat and set aside for 15 minutes for the flavours to infuse. Discard the onion and bay leaf.
Cut the stem off the cauliflower and discard it. Cut the cauliflower head into large, even-sized florets. Heat a large saucepan of water until boiling. Add the cauliflower, bring back to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes or until just tender. Drain well and put in an ovenproof dish.
To make the cheese sauce:
Melt the butter in another saucepan. Stir in the flour, mustard powder and cayenne to make a smooth paste (also called a roux). Cook over a low to medium heat for 1 minute stirring the paste all the time. Remove the pan from the heat.
Gradually add the milk, whisking gently with a wire whisk. Return to the heat and bring back to the boil, whisking all the time and making sure the whisk goes right into the edges. Turn down the heat and simmer for 1 minute, whisking gently.
Remove from the heat and add three-quarters of the cheese. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese. Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the pancetta on a baking tray and cook in the oven with the cauliflower cheese for 5-10 minutes or until crisp. Break the pancetta into pieces, scatter on top of the cooked cauliflower cheese and serve.