When I travel, I bring a stack of food magazines to read for inspiration. On a particular cross-country flight, I was prepping for a new season of my TV show and saw a recipe for a parsnip gratin. I thought, "Well, parsnips are root vegetables. I love root vegetables in general. What if I just do a bunch of root vegetables all together in a gratin?" A few days later, I was basking in the creamy, cheesy glory of my latest creation. You'll do the same. You can slice your root vegetables with a knife, but I recommend using my favorite kitchen utensil, the mandoline, and then taking care to spread the thin slices evenly. This dish transforms a quartet of ordinary roasted root vegetables that might not otherwise cohabit the same baking dish into old-fashioned, crowd-pleasing comfort food. Later, you can ask, "When was the last time anyone asked for more parsnips?"
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut the potatoes, beet, fennel and parsnips into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Toss together the vegetable slices, salt, and 3/4 cup of the cream in a large bowl.
2. Spread half of the mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish. Top with 1 cup of the Parmesan. Top evenly with the remaining vegetable mixture. Pour the remaining 3/4 cup cream over the vegetables, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
3. Uncover and bake until the vegetables are tender and the cheese is golden brown, another 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool for 15 minutes before serving with some black pepper ground over the top.
Tools You May Need
This recipe has been updated and may differ from what was originally published or broadcast.