Fall brings cravings for warm, comfort food… what’s better than a bacon potato bake? Yummy layers of potatoes, onions and bacon, topped with a creamy béchamel sauce! Find this and many more recipes with pictures on the Giallozafferano App (in English) http://itunes.apple.com/app/giallozafferano-recipes/id384387249?mt=8
Start by peeling the onions, cut them in half, then into thin slices… here they are. Now cut the bacon into small cubes – I’m using smoked bacon, but unsmoked is fine, too. Cut first into slices, then into strips and finally into cubes. Move on to the potatoes: wash and peel off the skin. Choose potatoes of even size; once peeled, slice them with a mandolin, about 1/10 inch (2-3 mm) thick. They should be like this more or less, neither too thin nor too thick. Place the potatoes in cold water as you cut them to keep them from browning and continue with the rest of the potatoes.
Now heat a large pan and add the diced bacon; cook over a medium heat until the fat has rendered, because we’ll cook the onions in the same fat. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil, sprinkle with coarse salt and drop in the potatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes after the water returns to a boil; make sure it’s simmering rather than boiling, or the potatoes will break up. Add the onions and cook over a very low heat until softened, it takes about 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, turn off the heat and sprinkle with salt, ground pepper and thyme.
Finally, prepare the béchamel sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour, toast it for about 1 minute, then pour in the milk at room temperature or slightly warm, so that the cooking process does not stop. You want the sauce to be thin enough to pour on the bake; season with salt and grated nutmeg. Allow to thicken slightly, then turn off the heat.
We are ready for assembly: start with a thin layer of béchamel sauce - my oven dish is quite deep - 3 tablespoons are enough. Cover with a layer of potatoes, the onion and bacon mixture, the grated asiago cheese – otherwise you can use gruyere or fontina cheese – and a drizzle of béchamel sauce. Repeat the layers: potatoes… and so on, until the ingredients are used up. Finish by pouring the béchamel sauce over the top, the grated cheese and the thyme. Now bake in a preheated static oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 45 minutes. And while the bake is baking, let’s see together the ingredients needed for this recipe!
12x8 ⅔-inch (30x22 cm) oval oven dish
- 2 ¼ lbs (1 kg) of medium potatoes
- 14 oz (400 g) of white onions
- ½ lb (250 g) of smoked bacon
- 7 oz (200 g) of grated Asiago cheese
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of pepper
- 4-5 sprigs of thyme
For the béchamel sauce
- 2 cups (500 ml) of fresh milk
- ¼ stick (30 g) of butter
- ¼ cup (30 g) of flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- grated nutmeg