Saturday, December 10, 2011

Winter Vegetable Gratin

I'll admit - I think this is one of the most beautiful dishes that I've created, and it's much easier and healthier than most gratins! I've been getting all sorts of different root vegetables in our CSA box - celery root, yukon gold potatoes, butternut squash (ok that's not a root vegetable but same idea), and watermelon radish. I suggest using any combination of root or fall hard vegetables in this dish: potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, hard squash like butternut or kabocha, even sugar pumpkin would be great. I happened to have the combination I talked about above - about 1 lb. each of celery root, butternut squash, a giant watermelon radish (yes, you can cook these and they taste similar to turnips), and yukon gold potatoes. Most gratins require making a bechamel sauce, which is delicious but not exactly heatlhy nor quick when you're also having to prep and arrange all of the vegetables. My version layers the vegetables with two cheeses, sage, and includes just a bit of lowfat milk poured over everything to bring it all together. The result was both gorgeous and delicious! I served this as a main dish with salad and bread, but it would also be a great side.

Winter Vegetable Gratin
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side

Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

4 lb. assorted hard winter/root vegetables (I used 4 varieties, 1 lb. each)
1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 c. freshly grated gruyere cheese
1/2 c. lowfat milk
1 T. fresh sage, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel and thinly slice all of the vegetables. Grease a large oval gratin dish or 9x13 baking dish. Arrange the vegetables in the first layer, alternating between the different types. The vegetables should be overlapping and create a relatively even, tight layer. Drizzle the first layer with a little extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, 1/3 of the parmesan cheese, 1/3 of the gruyere cheese, and 1/3 of the sage. Add the next layer of vegetables and drizzle the olive oil, add the pinch of salt, another 1/3 of each of the cheeses, and the sage. Top with the last layer of vegetables, drizzle with olive oil and the pinch of salt, then pour the 1/2 c. of milk over the dish. Top with the remaining cheeses and sage, then transfer to the oven and bake for approximately one hour until lightly golden. Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, then cut into sections for serving.

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