- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), broken into medium florets
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ cup grated Stella® Black Pepper Fontinella® Cheese
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup panko or bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons shredded Stella® Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Flaky sea salt, for serving (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees and butter a 2-quart glass baking dish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the cauliflower until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain and cool.
In a small saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour until it forms a pale-golden paste, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a low simmer, stirring frequently, until it thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in half the Black Pepper Fontinella® cheese.
Pat the cauliflower dry then transfer it to a large bowl. Pour the creamy sauce over the cauliflower and stir to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Transfer the cauliflower mixture to the buttered baking dish, spreading it in an even layer. Top with the remaining Black Pepper Fontinella® cheese. Bake until the mixture begins to bubble and the cauliflower starts to turn golden, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the panko, Stella® Parmesan, thyme and oil.
Spoon the panko mixture on top of the cauliflower and bake until the topping is crisp, about 10 minutes.
Allow the casserole to cool for about 5 minutes or so, then serve. Season with flaky salt, if desired.