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Cauliflower Gratin with Endive

Sardinian pasta, also known as fregola or friulli, is a flour-based, nutty-flavored pasta; it absorbs the juices in the gratin beautifully.

  • Servings: 8

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 1999

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 2 heads Belgian endive, cut lengthwise into sixths
  • 1 cup large-style Fregola Sarda, Sardinian pasta, or 1 cup parboiled tubettini pasta
  • 2 pounds cauliflower florets (2 large heads)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups hot milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced chopped fresh marjoram
  • 10 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated on the small holes of a box grater
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese grated on the large holes of a box grater to yield 1/4 cup

Directions

  1. Place rack in lower third of oven; heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a deep 1 1/2-quart heat-proof dish. Arrange the endive in the bottom of the pan. Spread the pasta evenly over the endive. Arrange the cauliflower florets in the dish in a mound.

  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; when bubbling, stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium low, and stir for 2 minutes to cook the flour. Whisk in the hot milk, whisking constantly until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and marjoram. When well blended, whisk in the Gruyere until smooth. Pour the mixture over cauliflower. Wipe any spills from side of dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Transfer gratin dish to a baking sheet.

  3. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, and continue baking until a knife easily pierces the larger cauliflower pieces, about 40 minutes. (Cover the gratin with aluminum foil if the top darkens before the cauliflower is cooked through.) Remove from oven, and place on a cooling rack to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Variations

Replace marjoram with oregano.

Cook's Notes

Small pasta such as tubettini may be used instead; boil it for 3 minutes, and rinse under cool water before using in recipe.

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