Snow Day Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower

Winter descended on New Mexico last week. We encountered snow as we drove into the hills north of Santa Fe; six inches of powder covered the ground at Hyde Memorial State Park where we camped for a few days.

Hyde Memorial State Park

A snowy hike left us hungry for something comforting and warm, and Cheesy Cauliflower fit the bill. I’d like to say we ate this with a big, healthy green salad, but the truth is we devoured the gooey goodness on it’s own – we were in a rush to meet some fellow RVers for wine and a game of dominos! The thermometer read 11 degrees when we got “home” that night.

Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower

3 C cauliflower florets (about 1 large head cauliflower)

¼ C olive oil

1-2 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste

2 tsp fresh thyme

2 TBS butter

2 TBS flour

1 C milk

1 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated

½ – 1 C panko or bread crumbs

salt & pepper

Toss the cauliflower florets with the oil, red pepper and thyme and spread in a 9×9 baking dish. Roast in a 350 degree oven, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until tender.

While the cauliflower cooks, prepare the cheese sauce. Make a roux – in a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Slowly add the flour and whisk until it forms a smooth paste. Cook for three to four minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns tan.  Turn heat to low. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat until thickened.  Remove from heat, add the cheese and stir until melted.

Pour cheese sauce over the cooked cauliflower. Sprinkle panko or breadcrumbs over the top. Broil until bubbly and the panko is lightly brown.

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