Have you noticed that Christmas dinner seems to be more about the amazing side dishes than anything else these days? Bacon-fried sprouts, maple-drizzled parsnips, garlicky green bean casseroles 鈥 pass us an extra-large spoon please! We鈥檝e seen so many variations on the classic veggies, but maybe it鈥檚 time for something a little bit different? Romanesco, a member of the cauliflower family, makes a gorgeous and festive-looking side. The pointy florets look just like little Christmas trees, so we鈥檙e taking full advantage and serving up a Christmas tree forest, complete with Parmesan snow sitting in a creamy cheese sauce. To keep the forest theme going, consider serving a gingerbread forest for dessert!

Even The Kids Will Eat Their Greens When They Look Like Christmas Trees!

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 1 large head of romanesco
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • small lump of Parmesan cheese to shred when serving
romanesco-christmas-trees-ingredients

Instructions:

  1. Cut the outer leaves away from the romanesco, then cut the florets off at the stalk, carefully pulling the florets out so you don鈥檛聽break them. Trim the ends of each stalk so the florets stand up straight.
  2. Steam the romanesco for 8-10 minutes until tender.
  3. While the romanesco is steaming, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a whisk to form a paste. Allow the paste to cook, while stirring for 30 seconds, then slowly pour in the milk while stirring with the whisk. Just add a little at a time and stir each time until no lumps remain. Continue to heat and stir the mixture until thick. Add the salt, pepper and cheddar and stir again until melted. Turn off the heat.
  4. Spoon the cheese sauce into a serving bowl or dish. Dust the romanesco florets with a little shredded Parmesan, then arrange on the cheese sauce, standing the florets up straight to look like Christmas trees. Sprinkle over the rest of the shredded parmesan to look like snow. Serve immediately.
romanesco-christmas-trees-step1-collage

Cut the outer leaves away from the romanesco, then cut the florets off at the stalk, carefully pulling the florets out so you don鈥檛 break them. Trim the ends of each stalk so the florets will stand up straight.

romanesco-christmas-trees-step2-2

Steam the romanesco for 8-10 minutes until tender.

romanesco-christmas-trees-step3-collage

Whilst the romanesco is steaming, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a whisk to form a paste. Allow the paste to cook while stirring for 30 seconds, then slowly pour in the milk while stirring with the whisk. Just add a little at a time and stir each time until no lumps remain. Continue to heat and stir the mixture until thick.

romanesco-christmas-trees-step4-collage

Add the salt, pepper and cheddar and stir again until melted. Turn off the heat.

romanesco-assembly

Spoon the cheese sauce into a serving bowl or dish. Dust the romanesco florets with a little shredded Parmesan, then arrange on the cheese sauce, standing the florets up straight to look like Christmas trees.

Even The Kids Will Eat Their Greens When They Look Like Christmas Trees!

Sprinkle over the shredded parmesan to look like snow. Serve immediately.

Even The Kids Will Eat Their Greens When They Look Like Christmas Trees!

It鈥檚 a cheesy wonderland!

Even The Kids Will Eat Their Greens When They Look Like Christmas Trees!

What鈥檚 your favorite Christmas side dish? Tweet us @BritandCo, and follow us on Pinterest for more delicious Christmas recipes!