Tartiflette

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Fall weather has me craving comfort food and nothing fits the bill for this category more than casseroles. The dishes don’t have to be complex or even have a lot of ingredients. Rather a few simple but quality ingredients goes a long way towards making the perfect dish. And tartiflette, the classic French comfort food, is about as perfect as it gets when it comes to comfort food.

As is the case with most traditional foods, there are as many versions of the dish as there are people. The basics for a tartiflette are the same: potatoes, onions and bacon are topped with a pungent Reblochon cheese and baked until soft and oozing. Some cooks add additional ingredients while others keep it simple. This version, adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe, keeps things pretty basic. I am lucky to have a great variety of cheeses readily available to me, including Reblochon, a soft ripe cheese that resembles Camembert. If you can’t find Reblochon in your local stores go ahead and substitute Camembert or even a pungent brie. Both will give you the same gooey and cheesy results you are looking for. Because this dish is so rich, a little goes and long way. I like to pair this with crisp greens in a light vinaigrette. Voila! You will have a rich and satisfying meal.

Tartiflette

6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 cup chopped pancetta

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 reblochon cheese, rind intact and halved crossways

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to  400 degrees.
  • Boil the potatoes in a large pot of water until the potatoes are al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat until it shimmers.
  • Add the onions and garlic and saute until they are soft but not brown, 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the pancetta and fry until the meat is cooked and the onions have begun to caramelize, 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the white wine to the skillet and cook for an additional minute before removing the skillet from the heat.
  • Lightly coat an oven proof casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place a layer of the potatoes along the bottom of the dish then sprinkle with some of the onion and pancetta mixture.
  • Top with another layer of potatoes.
  • Repeat in this pattern until you have used all of the potatoes and pancetta and onions, ending with a potato layer.
  • Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top of the potatoes.
  • Place the cheese on top of the potatoes, crust side up.
  • Bake, uncovered for 25 -30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is bubbling.
  • Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

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