Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Gratin with Pecorino Sardo PDO | culture: the word on cheese
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Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Gratin with Pecorino Sardo PDO

Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Gratin with Pecorino Sardo PDO

Made with 100 percent sheep’s milk, Pecorino Sardo PDO makes a rich addition to a warm winter gratin. Spring for the longer-aged maturo version to boost complexity; melted into cauliflower and crisped alongside breadcrumbs, the cheese—which has been perfected over the centuries on the Italian island of Sardinia—adds a savory dimension to this veritable comfort food dish.
Servings 4


  • 1 large head cauliflower about 2 ½ pounds, broken into bite-sized florets
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium leek white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • cup freshly grated Pecorino Sardo PDO Maturo divided
  • cup panko or fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste


  • ► Heat oven to 400°F. Grease 2-quart baking dish (can be rectangular, square, or oval).
  • ► Fill large pot with water and bring to boil. Salt generously and add cauliflower florets, cooking until florets have slightly lost their crisp but are still firm, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • ► Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • ► Add flour, stir to incorporate it into leeks, and cook for a minute or two. Slowly stir in milk, breaking up clumps as you go. Bring to a slight simmer over low heat and cook until sauce has thickened, stirring frequently to keep bottom from burning.
  • ►Once sauce is thick enough to coat back of a spoon, stir in nutmeg, black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup grated Pecorino Sardo. Once cheese has melted, add cauliflower and mix until fully coated.
  • ►Transfer cheesy cauliflower mixture to baking dish and spread evenly. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with remaining Pecorino Sardo. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • ►Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the gratin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown and crisp and sides are bubbling. Allow to slightly cool before serving.
Sponsored by Sopexa


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