Cheesy Potato Gratin with Pancetta and Fennel
- 2.5qt baking dish (or a similar medium sized baking dish).
- Small sauce pot
- Large saute pan
- Medium bowl
- 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
- 6 cloves of garlic smashed
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp fresh black pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 oz pancetta diced
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 medium fennel bulb cored and sliced
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 oz gruyere cheese shredded
- 3 oz manchego cheese shredded
- ½ cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
- 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes scrubbed clean
- Sliced fresh chives for serving
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Butter a 2.5qt baking dish (or a similar medium sized baking dish).
- In a small sauce pot add cream, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, and cook on low for 20 minutes. Make sure to keep the heat very low as you don’t want to boil away the cream. You are just looking to infuse the cream, so it should be barely simmering. Once the 20 minutes is up, stir in the salt and pepper. Strain.
- Meanwhile as the cream infuses, heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add pancetta and cook until rendered and crisp. Add in onions and fennel, season with a light touch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, about 15-20 minutes, or until the fennel and onions are very soft.
- Mix gruyere, manchego and pecorino together in a medium bowl.
- Just before you are ready to assemble, slice potatoes into 1/8 inch thick disks, using a mandolin if you have it.
- Arrange 1/3 of the sliced potatoes on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with 1/2 of the fennel mixture and 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Add the next 1/3 of the potatoes, the remaining fennel mixture and the next 1/3 of the cheese mix.
- Top with the last 1/3 of potatoes, and pour cream evenly all over the top. Add the last 1/3 of the cheese mix all over.
- Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the potatoes are almost tender.
- Uncover and bake for another 20-30 minutes until golden brown and potatoes are fully tender.
- Serve topped with fresh chives.
*To make this ahead of time, you can make the cream mixture, the fennel mixture and grate the cheeses a day ahead. Then, day of, all you have to do is slice the potatoes, assemble and bake 🙂
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
LOVE this recipe! It’s a bit of a labor of love but well worth the effort. I used leftover ham that we had in place of the pancetta. I can also totally see the potential for switching up the types of cheeses based on preference.