Cauliflower Gratin with Endive


Oft-overlooked cauliflower is elevated to bubbling, golden-brown heights when paired with Belgian endive and small pasta shapes, then covered in a rich sauce. Gruyere and fresh breadcrumbs top the gratin. Coarse gratings of Parmesan are the rustic finish to this baked dish.


  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish

  • 2 heads Belgian endive, cut lengthwise into sixths

  • 1 cup fregola Sarda (semolina pasta) or Israeli (large pearl) couscous

  • 2 large heads cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups milk

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh marjoram or oregano

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 3 cups finely grated (about 10 ounces) Gruyere cheese

  • ¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs

  • ¼ cup coarsely grated (about 2 ounces) Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in lower third. Butter a 1 1/2-quart, deep, wide ovenproof dish. Put endive in bottom of dish. Arrange pasta or couscous over endive. Top with cauliflower.

  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in milk; cook, whisking, until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in marjoram, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in Gruyere until smooth. Pour over cauliflower. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Set dish on a baking sheet.

  3. Bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; bake until cauliflower is tender, about 40 minutes. (If browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Transfer to a wire rack; let cool 10 minutes before serving.

    cauliflower gratin with endive
    Anita Calero
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