It seems like everyone's family has a potato dish (or two!) they traditionally serve for Thanksgiving. Ours is a potato gratin, which I decided to gussy up this year with the addition of nutty Gruyere cheese and crispy pancetta. It has all the familiar flavors of a classic gratin, but the elevated add-ins lend this version an easy sophistication for the holidays.
Making this gratin is a joy because it will fill your home with the most intoxicating aromas, first while you cook the pancetta, then while you sauté the shallots, and finally as the buttery cheeses and creamy potatoes marry together in the oven. Once you're crisping up the potatoes and cheese under the broiler, you'll wonder how you'll wait the 15 minutes before cutting into the gratin's tempting layers.
While I absolutely adore the experience of holiday cooking, what I don't love is cleaning up after the meal. Fortunately, by spraying my gratin dish with PAM Original Cooking Spray before layering on the potatoes and cheese, clean-up is amazingly easy - no soak required. B0nus? PAM leaves *99% less residue than leading brands of margarine or bargain-brand cooking sprays, so I have more time to enjoy post-feast drinks and conversation without dreading the chore of scrubbing pans later.
Potato Gratin with Pancetta and Gruyere
Serves 4 to 6
pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
finely chopped shallot
fresh thyme leaves
PAM Original Cooking Spray
1 1/2 pounds
Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
finely grated Gruyere
finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a plate with a paper towel. Add the pancetta to a medium skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, 7-10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to move the pancetta to the paper towel-lined plate. Drain off most of the rendered fat, leaving a thin coating. Add the shallot, salt, and thyme and saute until the shallot is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and cook, stirring often, until hot. Remove from the heat.
Spray a 1-quart gratin or baking dish with PAM Original Cooking Spray. Line the bottom of the dish with about 1/3 of the potato slices, sprinkle with 1/2 the pancetta and 1/4 cup Gruyere. Add another layer of 1/3 of the potato slices, the remaining 1/2 of the pancetta, and remaining 1/4 cup Gruyere. Add the final 1/3 of the potato slices in concentric circles. Pour the hot heavy cream mixture evenly over the gratin.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the potatoes are pierced easily with a fork, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle evenly with the Parmigiano Reggiano and return to the oven to bake until the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. If you would like additional browning on the top of the gratin, place under the broiler until golden, 2-3 minutes. Rest at least 15 minutes before serving warm.
To double the recipe, use a 2-quart dish and add 5-10 minutes to the bake time.
* Versus leading cooking sprays (except olive oil), after spraying on glass bakeware, baking at 400°F for 30 min, cooling, and then washing in standard home dishwasher with detergent and repeating 4 times