white cauliflower lasagne

  • ½ tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1.5kg cauliflower, trimmed, cut into florets and thinly sliced
  • 3 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 bulb garlic, halved horizontally
  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped
  • ¾ cup (110g) plain (all-purpose) flour 
  • 1.5 litres milk
  • 2 cups (160g) finely grated parmesan
  • 275g fresh lasagne sheets
  • 2 x 200g burrata+, torn


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the fennel seeds in a mortar and pound with a pestle until just crushed. Place the cauliflower, leek, oil, rosemary, salt, pepper and fennel in a bowl, toss to combine and divide between 2 large oven trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Add the garlic, cut-side down, and cook for 15–20 minutes, swapping trays halfway, or until just cooked and golden. Allow to cool completely. Squeeze the garlic cloves from the skins and crush with a fork to form a purée. Set aside.
  2. To make the garlic and parmesan sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, for 1–2 minutes or until well combined. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, for 1 minute or until just thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the garlic and parmesan. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Lightly grease a 28cm x 17cm (3.25-litre-capacity) ovenproof dish and cover the base with 1 layer of lasagne sheets, trimming to fit. Top with one-third of the cauliflower mixture and 2 cups of the garlic and parmesan sauce. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 2 more layers. Place dish on an oven tray and cook for 20–25 minutes or until golden. Top with the burrata and cook for a further 10–15 minutes or until melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6–8. 

+ Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made with mozzarella and cream. Find it at specialty food stores, cheese shops and some greengrocers.

For a shared table, divide the ingredients into 2 x 1.5-litre-capacity ovenproof dishes and bake at 200°C (400°F) for 15–20 minutes. Add the burrata and cook for a further 7–10 minutes or until melted. 

Photography: Anson Smart

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