The best part (well, besides all the cheese)? You can prep it a day in advance.

Karla Walsh
November 20, 2020
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Po-tay-to, po-tah-to—no matter how you say it, spuds are one of the must-have ingredients of any traditional Thanksgiving menu. And our favorite entertaining ace and quarantine queen Ina Garten agrees. All week on Instagram, Garten's been sharing how she plans to adapt her recipes for her "#microthanksgiving" that will be a table for four. (That's the CDC-approved way to celebrate this year, by the way, with your household or "pod" only.)

Despite the smaller scale, the flavor is large on Garten's Thanksgiving menu, it seems, with Haricots Verts with Hazelnuts and Dill, Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Herb and Apple Bread Pudding on deck. As well as this easy potato casserole we can't wait to recreate:

"Instead of mashed potatoes, this year I'm making a potato dish with a twist: Potato-Fennel Gratin. It's rich and creamy and infused with onions, fennel and Gruyère cheese," Garten explains in the caption.

Besides looking completely delicious, we love that this cozy side only requires five ingredients (not counting basics such as butter, olive oil, salt and pepper) and that Ina has had it in her recipe box for over two decades! This Potato-Fennel Gratin recipe originally appeared first in—and was updated from—1999's The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook ($25.17, Amazon).

To make it, in a skillet with a mix of olive oil and butter, sauté a sliced onion and four sliced bulbs of fennel. Once caramelized, remove those from the heat and toss into a large bowl along with thinly sliced potatoes, cream, Gruyère, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture into a large oven-safe baking dish. Then in a small bowl, mix together a couple tablespoons of cream and a handful of Gruyère to sprinkle on top.

At this point, you can either pop the casserole into the refrigerator to chill for up to 24 hours or bake it immediately for about an hour, or until bubbly and golden brown. This serves 10 as-is, and we'd put money on the fact that leftovers would taste incredible with an egg and crumbled bacon on top for a Friday brunch, but you could likely cut this in half and follow the same instructions for a five-serving portion. If you, too, are feeling inspired to sub out your typical spud recipe with this one, get Garten's Potato-Fennel Gratin game plan here.