4 great gratin dishes to cook this week

When you're looking for a comforting dish on a chilly night, it's hard to go wrong with a great gratin — aromatic vegetables in a rich sauce, maybe a little melted cheese, all of it hidden under a golden brown crust. One of the oldest dishes in the comfort-food playbook, the gratin is a celebration of creaminess and crisp crust that is often based on the simplest of ingredients.

POLENTA GRATIN WITH MUSHROOMS AND FONTINA

Polenta is slowly cooked in the oven — rather than stirred slowly on the stove — with this simple gratin, which is topped with a variety of mushrooms, fresh rosemary and Fontina cheese.

CELERY ROOT GRATIN

If you want the richness of potato but are looking to keep your carb count down, celery root is a great alternative. Here, sliced celery root is layered in a creamy gratin flavored with hints of Dijon mustard and Gruyere cheese. You can also assemble it ahead of time, up to adding the cheese, then refrigerate it for a day or so before baking.

MUSHROOM AND SPINACH GRATIN

Looking at the finished product, you might never guess this gratin has only six ingredients. Browned butter-sauteed mushrooms are combined with wilted spinach and reduced heavy cream in a wonderfully rich dish from acclaimed French chef Guy Savoy.

ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND KALE GRATIN

Combine crumbled Italian sausage with fresh kale in a goat cheese sauce, then top the gratin with seasoned breadcrumbs before baking. It's the perfect weeknight meal.

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