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4 great gratin dishes to cook this week

4 great gratin dishes to cook this week
Recipe: Italian sausage and kale gratin (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

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.

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<a href="http://recipes.latimes.com/recipe-polenta-gratin-with-mushrooms-and-fontina/" target=""><strong>Polenta gratin with mushrooms and Fontina</strong></a>
Polenta gratin with mushrooms and Fontina (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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.

<a href="http://recipes.latimes.com/recipe-celery-root-gratin/" target="_blank">Recipe: Celery root gratin</a>
Recipe: Celery root gratin (Los Angeles Times)

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.

Looking at the finished product, you might never guess this gratin has only 6 ingredients.<br> <a href="http://recipes.latimes.com/recipe-mushroom-and-spinach-gratin/" target"_blank"> <b>Recipe: Mushroom and spinach gratin</b></a><br>
Looking at the finished product, you might never guess this gratin has only 6 ingredients.
Recipe: Mushroom and spinach gratin
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

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.

<a href="http://recipes.latimes.com/recipe-italian-sausage-and-kale-gratin/" target="_blank">Recipe: Italian sausage and kale gratin</a>
Recipe: Italian sausage and kale gratin (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

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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