MAKE-AHEAD Italian Potato Gratin

Italian Potato GratinThis Italian Potato Gratin was seriously good and a welcome newbie to the Christmas table this year. Not only is it really tasty but it can be assembled weeks ahead of time, frozen, thawed the night before and roasted as normal. This is invaluable when cooking for a crowd or doing a lot of different dishes like at Christmas. Just par boil the potato slices and fry up the pancetta so it is nice and crispy and assemble as below.

If, like me, you have just one small oven you will know how valuable oven real estate is so these potatoes can be roasted once the turkey is taken out to rest. Perfect!
I call this Italian Potato Gratin though I don’t think it is an Italian dish. It’s just a normal potato gratin that is loaded with gorgeous Italian flavours like pancetta, Parmesan and thyme. If you prefer you can roast this Italian potato gratin without the bain marie. It will have a more set, drier consistency.

Italian Potato Gratin


  • 900 g potatoes, peeled
  • 110 g pancetta
  • 110 g Parmesan
  • 350 ml cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp coarsly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil for greasing your dish


  1. Thinly slice the potatoes. Using the slicer attachment of a food processor will make this a lot easier.
  2. Add the salt to a pot of boiling water and add the potatoes and par boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Strain and allow to cool on a clean tea towel.
  4. Fry the pancetta pieces until crisp and foaming.
  5. To assemble, grease an oven dish with the olive oil and layer a third of the potatoes, pancetta, thyme and grated Parmesan and pour over a third of the cream.
  6. Repeat this for another 2 layers.
  7. If making ahead, wrap in foil and freeze. Take out the night before serving to thaw overnight.
  8. Roast for an hour at 180 degrees Celsius using a Bain marie.
  9. This is when you place your gratin dish into a bigger roasting dish and fill the bigger dish with hot water so the water comes halfway up the outside of your gratin dish.
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