Creamy Gorgonzola Baked Leeks Au Gratin is an intensely rich and decadent side dish that works perfectly with steak or red meat main dishes. It has a creamy texture, a mild hint of onion flavor from the leeks, and a creamy hit of blue cheese from crumbled gorgonzola melted into the sauce.
Blue cheese recipes are a favorite of mine in winter and make a wonderful side dish, especially around Christmas and Thanksgiving. The creamy gorgonzola adds an incredibly rich depth of flavor, and the crispy breadcrumb topping adds an out-of-this-world texture. It is one of my favorite ways to eat leeks, although the creamy gorgonzola cheese sauce is the star of the show.
Why you'll love this easy side dish recipe
- It's decadent: The creamy, rich taste of this creamy Gorgonzola baked leeks au gratin makes it perfect for special occasions or dinner parties where you really want to bring out the big guns.
- It's fast: It takes just 15 minutes of prep time to put this dish together, and then all you need to do is pop it in the oven until it's golden brown, bubbling, and cheesy.
- It's freezer-friendly: I love making cheesy leeks gratin as they freeze so well! If I'm hosting guests for dinner but don't have much time on the day, this is one of the easy side dishes I make ahead of time.
This creamy baked leeks with blue cheese recipe might look complex, but it is actually very easy to throw together in around 30 minutes, and you can make it in advance, too. Here are the simple ingredients you will need:
- Leeks - Fresh leeks have a delicious onion-like flavor and become mouth tender and delicious when cooked. Make sure you always clean leeks in cold water before use; their many layers can harbor dirt! Trim the outer leaves and remove the dark green portion of the leeks, as well as the woody tip from the white part of the stem.
- Gorgonzola - This creamy blue cheese from Italy has varying strengths, ranging from mild (dolce) to stronger (piccante), which you can buy according to your preference. I use piccante gorgonzola. You can use another creamy blue cheese in this cheesy baked leeks recipe if you prefer but choose a creamy variety. Stilton, for example, is normally too crumbly and chalky to work well.
- Unsalted butter - I only use unsalted, high-quality butter in my recipes to remain in control of the quality and quantity of the salt.
- Flour - A small amount of plain flour or all purpose flour is all you need to thicken the creamy cheese sauce.
- Milk - Use whole milk in this cheesy baked leeks recipe.
- Nutmeg - A nutmeg grating can add a little bit of warm undertones to this blue cheese side dish.
- Breadcrumbs - For maximum crunch, buy panko breadcrumbs, but regular breadcrumbs are fine too.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper - You will not need a lot of additional salt in this recipe as gorgonzola is brined with sea salt before aging, so quite salty.
See the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for full quantities and step-by-step directions on how to make this delicious creamy gorgonzola baked leeks au gratin recipe.Jump to Recipe
How To Make Baked Leeks Au Gratin
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Prepare the leeks. Remove the green outer leaves and trim the dark green ends/dark green tops. Thoroughly clean leeks in cold running water and then slice into rounds roughly 1cm or ½ inch thick.
- Place the sliced leek pieces into a large saucepan and just cover them with boiled water. Simmer the leeks in the water for 5 minutes or until tender, and then drain, but reserve a ladle (¼ cup) of the cooking water separately.
How to make a gorgonzola cheese sauce for leeks
Melt the butter in the large saucepan, and when it stops crackling and goes quiet, whisk in the flour to create a paste (known as a roux). Cook the roux over medium-low heat for 10-20 seconds.
Slowly whisk in the milk and then a ladle of the reserved cooking water to form a smooth and creamy white sauce. Continue to whisk until it thickens (5 minutes), then stir in the gorgonzola cheese and grate in the nutmeg.
Put the cooked leeks into a baking dish and pour the creamy gorgonzola sauce over the layers of leeks. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs over the surface of the blue cheesy leeks. Bake leeks in cheese sauce for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbling.
Top tip: Do not let the gorgonzola cheese sauce boil; bring it to a steaming point only. Whisk continually to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan, and wait for it to thicken. This will take a few minutes.
Chef's notes and serving suggestions
I love this creamy gorgonzola baked leeks au gratin with other seasonal side dishes like buttery root vegetable mash, garlic potato roses, and roasted hasselback carrots. Blue cheesy leeks au gratin are the perfect side dish for steak or a red meat main course that can handle the strong gorgonzola flavor.
Leftover leeks or leek water? Make potato leek soup!
Wine pairing for gorgonzola dishes
A full-bodied and fruity red wine is best for creamy blue cheese recipes like this gorgonzola cheesy baked leeks. Although, it will also depend on the flavors of your main dish. I would serve a big Italian red wine like a Barolo, Amarone, or a Chianti Classico.
Read my guide on easy food and wine paring tips for more information on how to elevate your meals with the right wine!
Storage and freezing
The best thing about this blue cheese baked leeks gratin is that you can make it the day before and reheat it! Which is always a lifesaver for a busy home cook who often entertains and hosts guests. To reheat this delicious side dish recipe, place it in the oven at 200C/400F for 10-15 minutes or until bubbling.
What's more, this tasty side dish freezes well too! To freeze baked leeks, cover the dish in aluminum foil and freeze until needed. Take the gorgonzola baked leeks au gratin out of the freezer the night before you need it, and place it into the fridge to defrost overnight.
You hardly need any equipment for this creamy gorgonzola baked leeks recipe; it is so simple!
Cook the leeks in a large saucepan, which you will also use to make the blue cheese sauce. Then, finish the baked leeks in cheese sauce in an oven-proof dish. This cheesy leeks recipe makes enough for 6 guests; be sure to use a dish deep enough. I'd say a dish around 5 quarts is the right size for this cheesy leek recipe.
Gorgonzola cheese is from Gorgonzola in the Lombardy region of Italy. Authentic Italian Gorgonzola will be labeled as D.O.P. or Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin).
Add the milk slowly, and do not boil the milk mixture. Keep the heat low enough to keep it at the steaming/just below simmering point, and whisk continually as the cheese sauce thickens.
Creamy Gorgonzola Baked Leeks Au Gratin Recipe
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 Oven proof dish
- 1 kg (2 pounds) Leeks
- 200 grams (1 ½ cups) Gorgonzola cheese
- 40 grams (3 tablespoon) Unsalted butter
- 40 grams (⅓ cups) Plain flour
- 400 ml (1 ½ cups) Whole milk
- 50 ml (¼ cups) Reserved cooking water
- ½ teaspoon Ground nutmeg
- 5 tablespoon (4 tablespoon) Breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
- Prepare the leeks. Remove the outer leaves and trim the dark green ends. Thoroughly clean under cold running water, then slice the leeks into rounds roughly 1cm or ½ inch thick.
- Place the leeks in a saucepan and just cover them with water, cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer leeks for 5 minutes or until under tender, then drain the leeks but reserve the cooking water.
- Melt the butter in the saucepan, and when it stops crackling and goes quiet, add the flour and whisk by hand to create a paste (a roux). Cook out the flour on medium-low heat for 10-20 seconds, slowly whisk in the milk, and then add a ladle of reserved cooking water to form a smooth white sauce.
- Bring the milk mixture to a steaming point and cook for a few minutes until it thickens whilst stirring/whisking to stop it sticking. Do not allow it to boil.
- Crumble the gorgonzola into the white sauce and stir to allow it to melt into it. Grate in the nutmeg and season with a small pinch of salt and some pepper.
- Add the cooked leeks to an oven-proof dish and pour over the creamy gorgonzola cheese sauce. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.
- Bake the cheesy leeks for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbling.
Other Dinner Party Recipes
These are some of my other easy elegant recipes for dinner parties: