Recipe Post: Cauliflower Cheese Pie

My father, a proud British man and a pretty decent plain-cook in his own right, had an absolute passion for making and eating Cauliflower Cheese Pie (which is of course a casserole, not a pie, but that was its name and that’s what I shall continue to call it). He also had quite a preference for Potato Cheese Pie — not to be confused with scalloped potatoes, both of which will likely be future recipe posts — among many other cheese-based casseroles that made up a large part of my family’s dinners as a child.

…come to think of it, pretty much if any recipe had cheese on it or in it he was totally for it….which may explain my UNHOLY OBSESSION with macaroni and cheese to this day…

In any case, this recipe is an homage to my beloved late father’s done-it-so-often-who-needs-a-recipe casseroles of 30+ years ago. It’s a somewhat more “grown up” version of what we ate when I was a kid, mainly due to more in-depth knowledge of professional cooking methods as well as access to higher-quality ingredients. But the casserole dishes in which I make my Cauli-Cheese Pie are the very same ones he used in the way-back. So there’s that.

Miss you, Dad.

Cauliflower Cheese Pie/Casserole

Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 7 minutes | Bake: 20-30 minutes | Yield: 8 servings

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 4 tbsp butter, plus 1 tbsp for greasing casserole dish
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 cups 2% milk or light cream, heated until very warm but not boiling
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1½ cups sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ cups fresh Parmesan, grated (or substitute another ½ cup of cheddar, like I did in the photo)
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in middle of oven. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside. 
  2. Steam cauliflower in a large pot with steamer basket until just barely tender, about 7 minutes. Drain thoroughly in a colander and set aside.
  3. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter to a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter has melted. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk until incorporated into the butter (this is a roux: pronounced “roo”). Cook the roux, stirring frequently with the whisk, for 2 minutes or until roux has starts to darken slightly.
  4. Gradually add the hot milk to the flour and butter mixture while whisking vigorously to work out any lumps. Continue cooking the sauce, stirring, until thickened and bubbly.
  5. Add salt, pepper, mustard and cheese and continue cooking, stirring, until the cheese has melted. Taste and adjust seasoning at this point.
  6. Add the well-drained cauliflower to the buttered casserole dish and pour the sauce overtop; stir cauliflower around lightly and gently to cover as many areas as possible with sauce.
  7. Combine the Panko breadcrumbs with the paprika, salt and pepper, and the last 2 tablespoons melted butter; toss to blend thoroughly.
  8. Sprinkle the seasoned crumbs over the cauliflower mixture, and scatter Parmesan and parsley overtop.
  9. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and topping is lightly browned. Serve hot.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Bernadine says:

    This looks delicious Alicia! Leaving you with a follow 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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