Make a Delicious Potatoes Au Gratin
Made simply with sliced potatoes, heavy cream, and grated cheese, potatoes au gratin is the ultimate comfort food. Here is everything you need to know.
This crazy-good recipe for potatoes au gratin comes from my dear friend Kelly Santoro, and it’s almost identical to the recipe I learned in culinary school. It involves layering thinly sliced potatoes with heavy cream and grated cheese in a baking dish, and then baking until the cream thickens and blankets the potatoes in a rich, creamy sauce. I’d say the dish is worthy of a special occasion — it is! — but the truth is that eating it is a special occasion in and of itself.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE POTATOES AU GRATIN
Before we get to the step-by-step instructions, a few words about the ingredients:
The best potatoes to use for au gratin potatoes are russets; they have the most starch and make the creamiest sauce.
You may be tempted to cut calories by using half & half or milk in place of the cream. Please don’t! This is one of those recipes that really requires heavy cream in order to thicken up.
It’s important to use authentic Parmigiano Reggiano rather than domestic parmesan. You can tell if it’s the real deal by looking at the rind, which is embossed with the name over and over. (If the cheese is already grated, it should be labeled “Parmigiano Reggiano,” not “Parmesan.”) If you can’t find it, Pecorino Romano makes a great substitute.
HOW TO MAKE POTATOES AU GRATIN
Begin by slicing the potatoes as thinly and uniformly as possible. You can use a mandoline slicer if you have one, but I never bother. (Tip: When slicing wobbly potatoes, it helps to cut a thin slice along the length of the potato, then turn the potato cut-side down on a cutting board so that it sits flat.)
Place the potatoes in a large bowl and toss with the salt and pepper. Be sure the potatoes are evenly coated.
Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Arrange some of the potato slices, edges overlapping, in a single layer on the bottom of the dish.
Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the potatoes.
Pour a quarter of the cream over top.
Repeat with the remaining potatoes, cheese, and cream, forming four layers. Pour any leftover cream over top.
Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for about an hour, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife and golden brown on top. The top layer of the potatoes should be beautifully golden by the time the dish is done baking but if you want just a bit more browning, feel free to stick the baking dish under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes; just keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn!
Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, if using, and serve. (Note: If you have a large crowd coming and plan to double the dish, you’ll get the best results by baking it in two 2-quart baking dishes instead of one larger dish. The potatoes will cook more evenly that way.)
Potatoes Au Gratin
By Jennifer Segal
Made simply with sliced potatoes, heavy cream, and grated cheese, potatoes au gratin is the ultimate comfort food.
Servings: 6 to 8 Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 60 Minutes Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Butter to grease the baking dish
2-1/2 pounds Russet potatoes (3 to 4), peeled and sliced very thin
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (4 oz) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2-1/4 cups heavy cream
Fresh thyme, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Grease an 8-inch (or 2-quart) baking dish with butter.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the potatoes with the salt and pepper until evenly coated.
Arrange some of the potato slices, edges overlapping, in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the potatoes, and then pour a quarter of the cream over the cheese. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, cheese, and cream, forming 4 layers. Pour any leftover cream over top.
Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for about an hour, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife and golden brown on top. Let the dish settle on the counter for about ten minutes. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, if using, and then serve.
Make Ahead: This dish can be assembled a day ahead; cover tightly with plastic wrap (pressing the wrap directly against the potatoes so they don’t discolor), store in the refrigerator, and bake before serving. The potatoes on top will still discolor a bit in the fridge, but it shouldn't be noticeable after baking.
Per serving (8 servings)
Saturated fat:18 g
GLUTEN-FREE ADAPTABLE NOTE
To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.