Friday, February 27, 2009


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!


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

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

  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".

  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

  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.

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

    Yummy looking gratin.

  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.

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

  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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