*Canadian Oka cheese has robust flavour and smooth, creamy texture when melted.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 large head cauliflower, trimmed
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek chopped, white and light green parts only (optional)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded Oka cheese
Pinch each of salt and paprika (or hot paprika)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, steam cauliflower until knife-tender, about 10 minutes. Cut-up into large florets and place into greased 8-cup casserole dish. *Reserve cauliflower steaming water for thinning sauce.
Meanwhile warm milk until just heated through.
In large saucepan, melt butter. Saute leek, if using until tender. Add flour, stirring for about 2 minutes until butter is absorbed and flour turns light golden. Stir in warm milk, a little at a time, until combined with flour and sauce begins to form. Switch to a whisk and whisk sauce until smooth.
Continue cooking until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Add Oka cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and paprika. Thin sauce with a little of the reserved cauliflower water if desired. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower.
In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and butter. Sprinkle over cauliflower. Bake, uncovered, until topping is golden brown and sauce is bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.