Broccoli Rabe · Cauliflower · Cheese

Broccoli Rabe and Cauliflower Gratin

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I believe I have mentioned that we have had a bumper crop of broccoli rabe this year.  The thing is, broccoli rabe is kind of an early vegetable, and Bill had planted a ton of rabe in spots that will eventually (soon) be taken over by the mid-season vegetables that make up the bulk of our garden.  Did that make sense?

Well anyway, with so much broccoli rabe, I thought I needed to branch out from my normal "saute it in olive oil with some garlic and maybe some pancetta and grate some cheese on top and that's all it needs" philophy of broccoli rabe.  So I started looking through a few cookbooks to see what other people liked to do.

And then, of course, I deviated from that path a bit.  I found a recipe for a Vegetable Gratin in the book Giada's Family Dinners by Giada De Laurentis.  Cauliflower and broccoli were the vegetables she used, and so I thought, why not use rabe instead of the broccoli florets?  And so that's what I did.  I also used different cheeses than she recommended, mainly because I already had some good-sized hunks of cheeses left over from Julia's birthday party, and I figured I should use them up.

And so I give you Broccoli Rabe and Cauliflower Gratin.

(Adapted from "Vegetable Gratin" in Giada De Laurentis' book Giada's Family Dinners.  Original recipe pg. 178.)

Ingredients:

3 T unsalted butter

salt

1 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets

about a dozen broccoli rabe plants, pulled from the garden, cleaned, and chopped (roots removed)

2 T all-purpose flour

1  1/4 cups heavy cream

1  1/4 cups 2% milk

3 oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded

3 oz edam cheese, diced (because i didn't freeze it first and so it was impossible to shred)

1/2 cup plus 2 T grated peccorino romano cheese

freshly ground black pepper

2 T dried bread crumbs plus a tablespoon of dried oregano

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Ready, Get Set, Go:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.   Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish with 1 T of the butter.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the cauliflower florets and cook for 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to the prepared dish. 

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Repeat with the rabe.

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Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 T of butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute.  Whisk in the cream and milk.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 2 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Add the cheddar, edam, and 1/2 cup of the romano.  Stir until the cheeses have melted.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce over the vegetables and toss to coat.

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In a small bowl, stir the bread crumbs and oregano with the remaining 2 T of romano.  Sprinkle over the gratin. 

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Bake uncovered until the topping is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.

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Pretty easy – and pretty yummy.  Alex didn't like it, but that was to be expected, as he's not fond of white sauces of any kind.  The rest of us, however, were pretty happy with it.

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