Ina Garten’s Twist on a Boring Vegetable Side Dish is so Barefoot Contessa

Ina Garten is a fan of cauliflower and has found some interesting ways to prepare it, including a make-ahead gratin recipe that is full of rich flavor. The Barefoot Contessa star also has an easy hack for cutting cauliflower that’s so simple and eliminates any mess.

Ina Garten holding her Cooking for Jeffrey cookbook and smiling at an event in 2018
Ina Garten | Noam Galai/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Ina Garten’s cauliflower gratin is a simple make-ahead side dish

Garten demonstrated how to make her cauliflower gratin recipe on an episode of Barefoot Contessa. The ingredient list isn’t long, nor is the prep and cook time — plus it can be made easily in advance — so it’s easy in every way.

Gratins are terrific — potato gratin, I like to make zucchini gratin,” she noted. “But for this dinner, I’m going to make cauliflower gratin.”

She started by cutting the cauliflower into florets and added them to a pot of boiling salted water and cooked the vegetable for five or six minutes until “just tender.”

Next, she made a white sauce for the gratin, which started with heating milk in a pan. In another pot she combined butter and flour, cooking them together until they formed a paste. She poured the milk into the butter and flour mixture then stirred it while the sauce thickened and coated a spoon.

Garten seasoned the sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, then added gruyere and parmesan cheeses and stirred to combine the ingredients.

Garten adds a crusty topping to her cauliflower side dish

To assemble the gratin, the Barefoot Contessa star drained the cauliflower and added a layer of the cream sauce to the bottom of an 8 by 11-inch dish. She placed the cauliflower in the pan next, then poured the remaining sauce over it.

She finished the dish with the addition of a “brown and crusty” topping. Garten mixed together bread crumbs and gruyere in a bowl and sprinkled it over the cauliflower, then drizzled melted butter over the top.

Garten baked the dish in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top was browned. Her recipe notes the gratin can be served at room temperature or hot.

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.

Ina Garten has an easy technique for cutting cauliflower without the mess

Garten shared an easy tip for cutting cauliflower without making a mess, something that many people struggle with in the kitchen. As everything the Barefoot Contessa star does, her trick was super simple.

She demonstrated the easy cutting technique in a 2018 Instagram post video. “If you’ve been cutting cauliflower through the top and getting little bits all over your kitchen, I have a better way to do it!!,” the caption noted.

In the video, Garten said a fan wanted advice about cutting cauliflower. “I thought, ‘Why does it get all over your kitchen?’ And I realized, if you cut straight through the top, it gets all over your kitchen,” she said.

Instead, the Barefoot Contessa star flips the head of cauliflower over to remove the core so “you can pull the florets apart.”

“So what you do is you just cut through the stem and pull the florets apart — and you have perfect florets and no mess,” Garten shared.

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