Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Love au gratin

I'm calling this new dish "love au gratin" because it's not your everyday potatoes au gratin - it is filled with fresh items from local farms and the most important ingredient, love. I'm not normally so sentimental about the food I cook, but when I took a big bite of this au gratin last night I was thinking....."you know, not everyone can cook this good, it takes a certain amount of love, care and passion to make a good meal." This is all based on the theory that if you don't love to cook, you won't ever be able to cook good food. This is a passion, something that you focus on not because you have to, because you are entranced in the potential deliciousness of what you are concocting.

Love au gratin is a fabulous home-cooked meal made of fresh red potatoes, baby zucchini, onion, broccoli, pancetta (yes, I just said pancetta), gruyere cheese, half and half cream and a hint of pecorino. When you take a steaming hot bite of it, it is so rich it makes your eyes role back. Best served on a cold winter night, but I made it on a 90 degree evening in the midst of summer and still found it to be ideal.


8 red baby potatoes
1/2 golden onion
1 head of broccoli
5 mini zucchinis (or 1 regular sized)
1/4 pound of Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons pecorino romano cheese (shredded)
2/3 cup of half and half or milk
1 dash of Paprika
2 tablespoons butter (I use vegan butter, but it's your choice)
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 pound of pancetta
5 sage leafs

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Wash the potatoes and slice into 2 centimeter slices
3. Dice half of an onion and place to side. Slice up your baby zucchini (or regular sized zucchini) into 1 inch thick slices and place to side. Break down the broccoli to desired size and place to side. Shred gruyere cheese and place to side.
4. Dice the pancetta and saute in a frying pan for 5 minutes on medium high
5. Butter a Pyrex casserole dish
6. In the casserole dish, sprinkle the chopped onion evenly. Top with potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, pancetta. Season with salt and pepper.
7. In a sauce pan melt the 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat. Add the cream and dash of paprika while stirring continuously. Continue to stir, add flour (sprinkle in slowly) and once the flour is thoroughly mixed in, add the gruyere and pecorino and stir until mixture comes to a creamy and cheesy consistency.
8. Pour the sauce over the potatoes and vegetables in the casserole dish and cover with tinfoil.
9. Bake in oven on 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until items are cooked to desired level.

Chop up the thyme and sage and sprinkle on top of the casserole. Let the love au gratin rest for 10 minutes then serve with wheat toast and salad. Let eyes roll back and enjoy.

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