Fontina cheese and buttery fresh breadcrumbs make this cheesy Brussels sprouts gratin a great comfort food. Add bacon, ham, or pancetta to turn it into a main dish or serve it as a side with or without meat.
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 clove garlic (cut in half)
3 tablespoons butter (divided)
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash ground nutmeg
1 cup milk or half-and-half
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
1 or 2 strips of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
1/2 cup fine soft bread crumbs
Cut off the core ends of the Brussels sprouts. Remove loose outer leaves and any damaged or discolored leaves. Quarter or halve the sprouts lengthwise. Rinse well under cold running water.
Heat the oven to 400 F (200 C/Gas 6).
Rub a 1 to 1 1/2-quart gratin dish or baking dish with the cut side of the garlic halves. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or lightly butter the dish.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a medium saucepan or saucier over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the minced shallots and saute, stirring, until then are translucent. Add the flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, and nutmeg to the saucepan and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer. Gradually stir in the milk or half-and-half. Continue cooking, stirring, until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the shredded cheese and bacon and cook, stirring until the cheese has melted.
Gently fold the Brussels sprouts into the sauce.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and toss with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the casserole.
Bake the casserole for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the topping is nicely browned and the filling is bubbling.
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