Italian Béchamel Potato Gratin combines French and Italian flavors into one delicious, easy to make and comforting potato dish.
This béchamel potato gratin is a decadently delicious blend of Italian and French culinary traditions. It’s my spin on the beloved potato gratin, where I incorporate fresh Italian cheese and herbs to give it a unique flavor profile.
The preparation is straight forward – it involves thinly slicing potatoes and then submerging them in a rich béchamel sauce. Then there’s the infusion of mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning, which brings it all together in a loving Mediterranean meet-cute.
Once baked, the gratin is topped with more mozzarella, which provides a slightly crispy texture. Potatoes, creaminess, crispy top – what more can you really ask for when it comes to comfort food?
- Potato Selection: Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes are often preferred for gratins due to their starchy content, which helps in creating a creamy texture. Ensure they are sliced uniformly for even cooking.
- Consistency: If you find the béchamel sauce too thick, you can add a splash more milk to achieve your desired consistency. Conversely, if it’s too thin, allow it to simmer a bit longer.
- Seasoning: Feel free to adjust the amount of Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to match your personal taste preferences. You can also consider adding crushed garlic for an additional layer of flavor.
- Cheese Variations: While mozzarella is used in this recipe, feel free to incorporate or substitute with other cheeses like Parmesan, Gruyere, or Fontina for a different flavor profile.
- Browning the Top: If you prefer a more golden-brown top, you can place the gratin under a broiler for a few minutes after baking. Just keep a close eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn.
- Make Ahead: You can prepare the béchamel sauce and slice the potatoes a day in advance. Store them separately in the fridge. When ready to cook, simply mix the potatoes with the béchamel, assemble in the baking dish, and bake.
- Storing Leftovers: The gratin keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.
- Serving Suggestions: This gratin pairs wonderfully with roasted meats, green salads, or as a standalone vegetarian dish.
Step by Step Guide to Making Italian Béchamel Potato Gratin
1. Preheat the Oven:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Grease a 9-inch deep baking dish and set it aside.
2. Prepare the Béchamel Sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the finely chopped onion to the pan and sauté until it becomes soft and translucent. This should take around 6 minutes.
- Stir in the flour, salt, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture takes on a pale golden color. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in 2 cups of milk, ensuring no lumps form. Once smooth, pour in the remaining 2 cups of milk, continuing to whisk.
- Increase the heat slightly, stirring constantly, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and becomes creamy. This should take between 8-10 minutes.
- After tasting and adjusting for salt and pepper if necessary, remove the pan from heat. Stir in 8.8 ounces of the shredded mozzarella cheese until it’s fully melted into the sauce.
3. Assemble the Gratin:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the thinly sliced potatoes with the prepared béchamel sauce. Make sure each potato slice is well-coated.
- Transfer this potato and sauce mixture to the greased baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
- Sprinkle the top with the reserved 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
4. Bake and Serve:
- Place the baking dish in the preheated oven.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork and the top is golden brown.
- Once done, remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before serving.
Hi, I am Katalina, the blogger behind Peas and Peonies where you'll find delicious recipes and lifestyle stories. My kitchen creations are usually with a twist, combining simple ingredients to create decadent, unique and innovative flavor combinations within a doable timeframe. Join the deliciousness!