There are so many recipes for gratins; almost all sorts of vegetable combinations can be layered with good melting cheeses, covered in luscious cream sauce and you’ll have a delicious side dish or a vegetarian main course. I like the earthy, sweet flavor of root vegetables and love to roast them. I knew they will be even better with cheese and cream infused with thyme, nutmeg or turmeric and garlic. —Kukla
• 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
• 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
•2 large carrots or 1 sweet potatoe, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 medium parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and thinly sliced
• 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled, crushed
• 1 medium celery root, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
• 8 ounces Gruyere or good Italian Fontina cheese, coarsely shredded
Preheat oven to 325°. In a small saucepan, bring cream, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme and nutmeg to a simmer. Remove from heat, strain and set aside.
Lay half the potatoes evenly in a shallow 2 1/2-qt. baking dish, followed by half the parsnips and all of shallot, carrots and celery root. Top with half the cheese. Add remaining parsnips, then remaining potatoes.
Pour warm cream over vegetables. Sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese.
Place on a reamed baking sheet; transfer to a rack in the lower position of the oven, tent with foil.
Bake for 1 hour; then remove the foil, transfer to the middle rack and continue baking until bubbling, golden brown, and tender when pierced, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack, sprinkle with coarse salt and some thyme leaves. Cool for about 10- 15 minutes before serving.
Make ahead: Up to 2 days; reheat at 325° until center is warm, about 30 minutes.