Garlic Spinach Potatoes Au Gratin
June 5, 2020 by Nicole Collins
If you had to list your top three foods of quarantine, what would they be?
For me, it would be potatoes, pasta, and eggs.
Ironically enough, I'd stopped eating pasta and potatoes for the most part before the lockdown. Not so much because I didn't like them or crave them anymore, but more so because they're both super carby and I can get more bang for my buck with other foods.
But, as the stay at home orders continued and we all found ourselves cooking from the pantry, I realized how much pasta I really have accumulated that I haven't really touched in a hot minute. So, pasta became a quarantine cooking staple.
One of my favorite dishes from quarantine was one that I whipped up completely on a whim while trying to clean out the fridge. It was a creamy spinach sauce that coated mushroom ravioli that ended up having an alfredo type feel to it.
But, unless it's my Shrimp and Mac Salad, I just can't eat pasta in the summer months. It's too heavy for me, and it makes me feel icky.
But, since I dream about that sauce that coated the ravioli because it was just soooo delicious, I decided to put a little spin on it. And, that's how today's recipe was born.
So today, we're making Garlic Spinach Potatoes Au Gratin!
Let me just start with an OMG. I thought this sauce was delicious enough on pasta, but I actually think it became even better on the potatoes!
Let's talk about the sauce. We're going to make a flour free cream sauce by simmering some heavy cream, milk, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese in a saucepan that has just finished sauteing some garlic and spinach. This sauce is on the thinner side, but I really like that it stays smooth and creamy even after reheating it.
For the potato piece of our au gratin potatoes, we're going to use some thinly sliced russet potatoes. Now, I would typically use a yukon gold potato, because those are my absolute fav. But, we want the extra starchiness that the russets have to offer to act as a little bit of a thickening agent while our casserole bubbles away in the oven.
To assemble, we layer potatoes, sauce, and repeat. Then, we top the casserole with a little more freshly shredded parmesan cheese; and it's ready to bake! Now, we all know that potatoes need salt. But the sauce is actually going to do all of the seasoning for us. Once the sauce tastes perfectly seasoned to your liking, add another tiny pinch of salt since the sauce has to have some extra seasoning for the potatoes, and everything will come out tasting perfect.
For a casserole of potatoes, cream, and cheese; these au gratin potatoes are surprisingly light. The potatoes are tender. The sauce is garlicky and creamy. And, the spinach adds a pop of color and freshness to the bite. These potatoes are definitely going to be finding themselves in the side dish line up very often.
Ok, guys! We've talked about pasta and potatoes. I think it only makes sense that we make something with eggs next! And, boy do I have an arsenal of breakfast recipes for you right now.
See you all later. Let's eat!
Garlic Spinach Potatoes Au Gratin
Serves: 6 Print
1 ½ lbs (4 cups) russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups spinach, torn
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup milk (I used 2%)
3 oz cream cheese
¾ cup + ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of a 1.5-2qt casserole dish with cooking spray.
Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic, and saute about 30 seconds- 1 minute until fragrant. Add spinach plus a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until spinach has wilted, about 1-2 mins. Add heavy cream, milk, cream cheese, ¾ cup parmesan, and salt and pepper, to taste. Stir constantly until cheeses are melted and incorporated. Reduce heat to low, and simmer sauce for 5-6 mins, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Taste for seasoning, and when it tastes perfect to you, add just another little pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
Layer ½ of the potatoes to cover the bottom of the prepared casserole dish, slightly overlapping potatoes. Top with half of the cream sauce, and spread to evenly cover the potatoes. Repeat for a second layer with potatoes and cream sauce. Top with remaining ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Lightly cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 mins. Remove foil, and bake uncovered for an additional 30 mins. Serve!
*The best way to cut a consistent thickness of potatoes is to use a mandoline slicer.
*You may think it's strange that we're not directly seasoning the potatoes, but there's enough salt in the cheese and cream sauce to perfectly flavor the potato slices! That's why we add just an extra little pinch of seasoning to the sauce.
*To layer the potatoes in the dish, work on one row at a time, making sure you're slightly overlapping the potatoes. Then, when you move on to the next row, you'll slightly overlap those to the previous row you just made. See pic in the post for layering suggestion.