½ C diced Bacon (optional ) or sub vegetarian “Bacon Bits”
1-2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Cup sliced red onion or shallots
6-10 garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 Large head cauliflower
½ C water
Preheat oven to 375F.
Slice head of cauliflower into ½ inch think slices and chop into bite size pieces. Saute Bacon in a heavy bottom skillet on medium heat until just crisp. Set bacon aside, drain fat and wipe out pan. Saute onion over med- high heat in 1-2 T olive oil until tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, turn heat to med and sauté until fragrant and golden. Add Chopped Cauliflower and ½ C water. Turn heat to med low, cover pan with foil or lid and let steam 12-14 minutes, until water has evaporated and cauliflower is tender.
While cauliflower is steaming, make Sage Bechamel. In a small pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir until butter just begins to become golden and becomes nutty and fragrant. Add flour. Stir and cook flour for at least 1 minute. Whisk in ½ C milk making sure to whisk all the flour from the corners and sides of the pot. Add another ½ C milk, whisking well. When thickened, add final cup of milk, sage, spices, salt and whisk constantly until mixture thickens and just comes to a boil. Turn heat off. Add cheese and whisk until smooth.
Pour Sage Bechamel over the steamed cauliflower and stir it in, coating cauliflower well. Top with crispy bacon (or bacon bits) and few sage leaves and a little more cheese (optional) or bread crumbs ( optional). You could refrigerate overnight at this point if making ahead.
Bake in the oven, uncovered until lightly browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes.