I’m not a traditional cook, at all, so potatoes are hardly ever served on my table. But, just for this cauliflower-series, I’m pulling out a proper classic: Cauliflower in cheese sauce with sausage and potatoes. A plateful of nostalgia! And, believe it or not, you don’t have to bother with Béchamel sauce! We’re making an easy peasy cheese sauce without danger of clumping or burning! And we’re saving on dirty dishes by cooking the potatoes alongside the cauliflower. I’m sure this classic dish will see the light of day more often after this! 🙂
This recipe is part of a cauliflower-series: 1 cauliflower, 3 recipes! In every recipe, I describe how to process the complete cauliflower for the 3 dishes. So you can start with any of the three recipes. If it’s your second or third cauliflower-escapade, just skip the intro ‘Processing the cauliflower’!
- Cauliflower rice with salmon and lemon
- Cauliflower in cheese sauce, with sausage and potatoes
- Cauliflower soup with chorizo and toast
Cauliflower in cheese sauce with sausage and potatoes
Processing the cauliflower (10 minutes)
Put the cauliflower upside down on a cutting board and cut off the green foliage. Cut the ‘roses’ from the main stem. Try to keep them as big as possible. About ⅓ of these (± 250-300 gr) will be used in the recipe ‘Cauliflower in cheese sauce’.
Cut the stems from the other roses. We’re making a couscous, so we want to make tiny kernels.** You don’t have to cut all the way down to the stems. If the pieces get too big, move on to the next rose. Keep going until you have a big helping of couscous (± 200-250 gr). We’ll use the stems to make the cauliflower soup (± 350-400 gr).
Lay out the cauliflower roses on a plate.
Rinse the potatoes throughly, but don’t dry them off and cut them into chunks. You don’t need to peel young potatoes. Add them to the plate alongside the cauliflower roses and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Make sure the potatoes aren’t touching.
Pour 1 tablespoon of water over the potatoes and cauliflower roses. Cover the plate with microwave oven proof plastic foil (or cover with another plate). Set to cook in the microwave oven for 8 minutes at the highest setting.
While the cauliflower is cooking, clean up your workspace and, if you like, put on the cauliflower soup. Keep the mascarpone, grated cheese, pepper and salt handy.
Put a saucepan over high heat and add a dash of oil.
When the pan’s hot, add the sausage. Leave it to fry without moving it for about 3 minutes, until brown. Then turn it over and bake the other side for another 3 minutes until brown. As soon as the sausage has a nice colour, turn the heat down to low and let it cook through. Flip it once or twice. The cooking time depends on how thick the sausage is. When in doubt: just cut it in half to see if it’s done :-).
After 8 minutes, take out the cauliflower and potatoes. Watch out for the vapour when removing the foil!
Slather the cauliflower with mascarpone, covering every bit of it, using a table knife. Season to taste with pepper and salt and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Prepare the potatoes to join the cauliflower in the oven, by sprinkling them with a little oil to keep them from drying out.
Put the plate with the cauliflower and potatoes (without cover!) under a grill or in an oven, preheated to 200°C, until the cheese is gratinated and golden brown.***
Take out the plate, but watch out, it’s hot! Serve with the sausage and feast, nostalgia-style!
* Mascarpone comes close to a proper Béchamel sauce, thanks to her texture and taste.
** If you have a food processor with an S-knife, cauliflower couscous is even easier to make. Add ⅓ of the cauliflower roses to the food processor, stems and all, and chop finely. Done!
*** If you don’t have an oven, or if it’s not powerful enough, use the microwave oven. The cheese won’t be gratinated, but merely melt, but it won’t be any less scrumptious! 😉 I use a combi-oven, which means I can’t preheat in order to gratinate. If you have a proper preheated oven, the cauliflower will be done even more quickly!
Tip: No microwave oven, no problem. You can just boil the cauliflower and the potatoes. Take into account that it will take longer until they’re done!
Input Singlemade test panel
Jomme was the first one to test and thanks to him some important details were added to the recipe. Like making sure the potatoes don’t touch while they cook in the microwave oven, lest you want them extremely al dente :-). A Singlemade-tester’s fate can be cruel…
In spite of those undercooked potatoes, Jomme is impressed: ‘dangit, that’s yummy!’ He does point out that slathering the cauliflower with the mascarpone isn’t as easy as it seems. 🙂
Stiene, on the other hand, didn’t have any trouble spreading the mascarpone, but she admits that she might have been a bit generous with it. Nevertheless, the recipe scored top marks in her book!
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Have fun cooking and… bon appétit! 🙂