Root Vegetable Gratin

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?"
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 5 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 12 servings
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Ingredients

2 large russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled 

1 large golden beet (about 1 pound), peeled 

1 large fennel bulb (about 12 ounces), trimmed 

2 large parsnips (about 10 ounces), peeled

2 teaspoons kosher salt 

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese (6 ounces)

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

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.

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