This cauliflower gratin is a low-carb, gluten-free version of the classic British nursery dish, cauliflower cheese. In a world where low-fat foods are considered healthy, it can seem counterintuitive to cook with heavy cream,... but for those who lose weight during treatment, it’s important to get in as many calories as possible from proteins and fat. This soothing, tasty vegetarian delight does just that. It packs in the calories. Easy to make, it is the perfect savory treat for anyone who needs an extra boost to keep their weight up. This tasty and deliciously cheesy dish will tempt the most jaded chemo palate!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a gratin or other shallow baking dish just big enough to hold the cauliflower in one layer. Set aside.
Steam the cauliflower: Pack the cauliflower florets tightly into a pan in one layer – stem sides down. Add about 1 inch of water or enough to cover the stems but not the heads. Sprinkle with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to steam.
Meanwhile, saute the shallots until just colored and sprinkle over the bottom of the gratin dish. Set aside.
Add the ricotta, milk, grated Parmesan, and a pinch of salt to a blender. Grate nutmeg over the top. Pulse until well blended and creamy. Taste for salt. Set aside.
Drain the cauliflower and pat dry if needed. Arrange in the prepared gratin dish, stems down and heads up. Pour the ricotta mixture over the cauliflower, letting it sink between the florets. Sprinkle the cauliflower with half the cheese, then half the breadcrumbs. Repeat. Bake on a middle-to-high rack in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the ricotta is bubbling and the cheese and breadcrumbs are golden brown. Let the gratin sit for 5 minutes before serving.