Friday, February 27, 2009

Gratin

You've heard of potatoes au gratin, no? In French, a gratin is any dish that is baked in the oven then broiled so that the top forms a kind of a crust. Often, it is made with cheese that melts under the broiler, but not always.

Gratin de penne, champignons, et petits pois.

Making a gratin is a great way to use leftovers. You know that I made a lasagne last week. A few days later I ate penne pasta with the leftover meat sauce. Well, I had some penne left over, so on Thursday I made a gratin.

For my gratin, I started with a bécahmel sauce. It begins with a roux of flour cooked in melted butter. Then you gradually add milk and stir, and that makes the basic French white sauce called béchamel. I added salt and pepper and a bit of grated nutmeg. Yum!

Next, I added some grated cheese to the béchamel. I used cantal. At that point the sauce became a mornay. Well, almost. A classic mornay also includes egg yolk, but I didn't add any. My sauce was a cross between a béchamel and a mornay. No matter.

Then I combined the leftover cooked pasta and the sauce. I mixed in about a cup of cooked peas and about the same amount of sautéed mushrooms. Then I put the whole mixture into a gratin dish, topped it with some more grated cheese and some breadcrumbs, and slipped it into a moderate oven for about forty minutes.

The result was a gooey, tasty pasta dish with a crunchy crust on top. It's very much like a lasagne, like the one I made last week, but without tomato sauce or meat. And it's a very versatile dish. You can use whatever you have around, including many leftovers, to make a successful gratin. So go ahead and do one yourself and send me photos and recipes!

9 comments:

  1. Encore!!! We'll be RIGHT over!!! hehe!! I'm hungry now!!!!

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  2. If you're not careful, you'll be the size of a house by the time Ken gets back! ;p

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  3. Yes, your followers list is much better without the border. You are such a great cook. Have you ever tried "brandade de morue"?
    P.S. : one of my favorite movie is "la nuit de Varennes".

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  4. god I love it when you cook and share what you do with us.....and you can make anything sound great!

    Victoria, Bellingham, WA

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  5. Every single morning when it's breakfast time and I'm having my morning coffee, I'm reading your post on dinner dishes..... irony! I love it. I made a gratin a while back of sliced yams with carmelized onions and red peppers, with red chili flakes and cheese and breadcrumbs in between. Delicious.

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  6. Now the followers list is just gone:) Are you in the middle of working on the competing colors? :)

    Yummy looking gratin.
    Judy

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  7. Man am I ready to go home and eat dinner. My lunch came out of a plastic wrapper that was in a card board box.

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  8. I love gratin...that is all :)

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  9. leesa, I'm still waiting!

    evol, I'm eating sensible portions. Most of it goes into the freezer for later meals. ;)

    nadege, I like brandade, but we've never made it at home.

    victoria, thanks!

    lewis, that sounds great - I'm going to have to try it.

    judy, it's back now. It must have been the blogger people making adjustments.

    dan, what's for dinner?

    rochelle, works for me!

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