Gratin Polesano / potato and cheese gratin

Gratin Polesano CollageI was given this delicious gratin recipe by Italian chef and cookery writer, Valentina Harris, who I met through my involvement in the wonderful Wells Food Festival, which has now become an annual event in England’s smallest city.

This gratin comes from Northern Italy, and is perfect as a supper dish in itself with a green salad on the side, but if you really fancy pigging out it’s also a great accompaniment to roast chicken or pork for Sunday lunch.

Valentina’s recipe calls for Fontina, an Italian cow’s milk cheese from Piemonte, but if you can’t get hold of this, Valentina recommends Emmenthal, Gruyere or even a good Somerset Cheddar as ideal substitutes.

I adore simple dishes such as this, and the gratin was a hit with all the family. I hope you and yours will enjoy it too.

gratin polesano

Gratin Polesano

Serves 4 to 6

2 tbsp butter
1kg potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (keep in a bowl of cold water to prevent discolouring)
475ml chicken or beef stock
300g Fontina cheese, sliced
150g Pancetta or streaky unsmoked bacon, thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper

Butter a deep ovenproof dish (which is also suitable for stove-top cooking), using a little of the butter.

Pour half the stock into the dish and bring to the boil.

Remove from the heat and arrange the first layer of potatoes across the bottom of the dish, ensuring they are covered by the stock.

Return to the heat and cook gently until the potatoes have cooked and absorbed the stock.

Preheat oven to 180°C / gas mark 4.

Cover the cooked potatoes with half the Fontina and the half the Pancetta. Season with salt and pepper, and cover with the remaining potatoes. Pour over the rest of the stock. (You might need to use a little more stock, depending on the type of potatoes used.)

Finish with a layer of Fontina cheese and Pancetta, dot with the remaining butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the top layer of potatoes is cooked and the topping is golden brown.

Serve with a simple green salad. Buon appetito!



I am entering this Gratin Polesano into the April/May Family Foodies challenge which I co-host with Louisa from Eat Your Veg. The current theme is Ciao Bambino! and we are looking for your Italian-inspired family favourites.

8 thoughts on “Gratin Polesano / potato and cheese gratin

  1. I had no idea Wells was a city. I almost always find out something interesting when blog hopping. This looks like my kind of food – simple, rustic comfort food.

  2. This is a lovely simple recipe! I used to use Valentina Harris’ cookbook a lot when I lived in Spain about 10 years ago, because a lot of the ingredients she used were similar to ones we had in Spain.

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