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Creamy Cauliflower in a Mold


For the Mold

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup plain fine bread crumbs

1 head (2 pounds) cauliflower, cored and outer leaves removed and florets cut into small 11/4-inch pieces

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons minced parsley

1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese

1/2 cup Montasio cheese, grated

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Grinding black pepper

For the White Sauce

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup Half ‘n Half

1 cup reserved cauliflower cooking water

1 teaspoons find sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg


Brush a 9 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch deep spring form pan or soufflé-type pan with the melted butter and coat it with the breadcrumbs.  Shake out any loose crumbs and refrigerate the mold until ready to fill.

Fill a large pot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Add the florets, cover the pot and cook until the florets are very tender, about 6 minutes.

Drain the cauliflower, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor and pulse several times until smooth.  You can also use an immersion blender to smooth out the cauliflower.  Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and whisk in the eggs, parsley, cheeses, salt and pepper.

Cover and refrigerate while you make the sauce.

In a medium size pan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste.  Whisk in the Half ‘n Half and reserved water.  Whisk in the salt and nutmeg and cook until the mixture thickens.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Transfer the sauce to the bowl with cauliflower and combine well.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 20 to 45 minutes or until the sformato sets and is lightly browned.

Remove the sformato from the oven and scoop from the pan to serve or, if using a spring form pan, wait 5 minutes, then unlatch the sides and lift off.  Cut into sedges to serve.  

Serve warm or at room temperature.

This recipe is featured on show 2224 – Cauliflower / Broccolo.

This recipe is from Ciao Italia Family Classics by Mary Ann Esposito.


  1. Jeaneene's avatar


    This woman makes things that sing with flavor. Fast food? Not necessarily, but definitely fun food. I love the things she makes and will get this book!
  2. Ruth's avatar


    I just love Mary Ann's recipes and I want to make her "creamy cauliflower in a mold" but I have not been able to find Montasio cheese after searching several different specialty groceries. I live in the Chicago area so you wouldn't think this would be difficult. Can I substitute some other cheese? Since I'm not familiar with Montasio I'm not sure what to do. I read online it's like a Swiss cheese but one store clerk told me it's like Parmesan, another store clerk told me it's like Piave, which I'm not familiar with (they didn't have Piave either).
  3. trudy's avatar


    I actually made this today it was delicious. I didnt have that cheese but I used romano cheese and it was great.the family said I found another way to make cauliflower and they loved it!!!!
  4. jennifer_hart's avatar


    This turned out lovely! I didn't have the specified cheeses so i used what i had.....peccorino romano, asiago, and velveeta! I will say that the amount of salt called for was way too much for me. Next time i will reduce by half. Next time i am at the european market i will buy the specified cheeses and bake it again. Very, very nice!

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