The foundation of this creamy casserole is a classic mornay sauce, a béchamel sauce to which cheese has been added—in this case, comté, a French cheese with a complex, nutty flavor that melts beautifully. With lots of freshly grated nutmeg to season it and a golden, crunchy breadcrumb topping, it’s a luscious, satisfying side dish for the Thanksgiving table. The dish comes from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, in the Napa Valley, where the staff makes it as part of their annual Thanksgiving dinner for veterans and their families.
Fresh goat cheese makes a creamy, velvety sauce for pasta baked with spinach and topped with sliced tomatoes that is bright with festive colors, and deeply comforting. And as it takes only slightly longer than an hour to cook, this can be a main player in a delicious and casual last-minute Christmas dinner.