Yield: 4 to 6 servings
* 1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces (about 6 cups)
* 4 ounce piece pancetta, diced
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups milk
* 1 clove garlic, whole
* 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1 cup grated Parmesan
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* 1/3 cup bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the
cauliflower for 2 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to a buttered 9 by
13-inch baking dish and let cool, about 5 minutes.
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, brown the pancetta. Transfer
to a small bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until
combined. Continue stirring for 2 minutes to cook the flour. Slowly
add the milk, stirring continuously until the milk has incorporated
and there are no lumps. Add the garlic clove and red pepper flakes and
stir the sauce over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a
wooden spoon. Add the Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and the reserved
pancetta. Stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower to
cover. Top with a sprinkling of bread crumbs.
Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cauliflower is cooked,
about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.