3/4 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup almonds, roasted and unsalted
2.5 tbsp butter
2.5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
5 oz Manchego cheese, grated (save 1 oz for topping)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup onions, sliced thin
12 oz cauliflower florets, cut into bite site pieces
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
ground Ancho pepper (optional), to sprinkle on top
salt, to taste
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the half and half, milk, and almonds on med-high. As soon as it boils, remove it from the heat and blend (I used an immersion blender). Let it stand for 15 mins, then strain through a fine sieve- keep the almond infused milk for step 2. (I used the rest of it in oatmeal, skin and all, because I couldn’t bear to throw away almonds.
2. In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat 2.5 tbsp butter on med-high. When melted, whisk in the all purpose flour and stir constantly for 1-2 min until the flour just begins to brown. Then slowly add the milk from Step 1 while whisking. Add the nutmeg, paprika, and ground black pepper. Continue to whisk for 5 mins until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in 4 oz of Manchego and salt (if needed) until smooth.
3. In a saute pan or skillet, heat 2 tbsp butter on med-high. When hot, add the onions and cook for 3 mins. Add the cauliflower and a pinch of salt and cook for an additional 5 min.
4. Mix the sauce, cauliflower, and pine nuts and spread in an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 oz Manchego on top. Sprinkle the Ancho pepper on top (optional). Cover with foil.
5. Bake at 400 F for 10 mins. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 mins. Let it sit ~10 mins (so it thickens) before serving.