A week ago, I tried a gratin recipe from an online source and was unimpressed by it. What was missing was the lovely bechamel sauce that binds it all and makes the flavors work together. So here is my version, perhaps not as calorie light, but I believe, more flavorful.
4 cups of romanesco, cauliflower, broccoli (or a mix thereof)
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 onion cut thinly into half moons
2 TBSP olive oil
1 1/2 cups milk or cream (your choice)
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
dash of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste.
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
2-4 TBSP romano or parmesan cheese
Oil or grease a 9x9 ovenproof casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350F.
Parboil or partially steam the vegetable(romanesco, cauliflower and/or broccoli). You can cook it in a cup of water in a covered baking dish in the microwave for 5 minutes on high until you can pierce it with a fork, but do not overcook.
While the vegetable is steaming, heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a saute pan large enough to hold all the vegetables. Add the onion to the pan and stir for 2 minutes, add the garlic to the pan and cook until the garlic begins to turn brown and the onions are tender, do not blacken the garlic, you just want a carmel color on its edges. Add the steamed veggies to the pan and toss with the garlic, onions and oil. Place the vegetable mixture in a greased 9x9 casserole.
Make a bechamel sauce in a 1 quart sauce pan, by melting the butter over medium low to low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and stir for 3 minutes over the heat. Gradually add the 1 1/2 cups milk to the pan, stirring constantly to avoid lumps in the sauce. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to just under a boil, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened.
Pour the bechamel over the vegetables in the casserole. Top with bread crumbs and cheese. You can dot the top of the casserole with bits of butter if you desire. Cook for 30 minutes in the oven until the cheese is melted and the top is browned. Enjoy!