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Northern Italian Cauliflower Gratin

Rated as 4.5 out of 5 Stars

"Served bubbling hot in a savory garlic and cheesy cream sauce, this side dish can take the center stage if paired with a risotto or semolina gnocchi. In the autumn, this dish makes a regular appearance at our dinner table as we harvest it straight from the garden."
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55 m servings 255
Original recipe yields 8 servings


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  1. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add cauliflower, cover, and steam until crisp tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately immerse in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add garlic; cook and stir until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in flour until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in milk and cream. Increase heat to medium and simmer, whisking frequently, until sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Bring to a boil; continue to cook until sauce is thick, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir Parmesan cheese, fontina cheese, salt, nutmeg, and white pepper into sauce. Cook, whisking vigorously, until cheese is melted into the sauce, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  5. Spread 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange cauliflower on top. Drizzle remaining sauce over the cauliflower, coating each floret.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until bubbling and lightly browned on top, about 10 minutes.


  • Cook's Notes:
  • Substitute Asiago cheese for the fontina if desired.
  • While this makes 8 normal servings, my family of 5 gobbles this up as a large portion of their meal.
  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil helps keep food moist, ensures it cooks evenly, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 255 calories; 19.2 13 9.4 67 301 Full nutrition

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This turned out delicious and I had no problem with the cheese melting which is always a plus for me!