What do you do when two huge zucchini babies are presented to you? Bob’s mom gave us some zucchini, along with other produce from their garden, and I was very excited about it. Not because I have a particular love for squash or anything, but because I had been perusing a Food52 cookbook of basic, yet satisfying classic recipes recently. I came across a zucchini gratin that promised to make zucchini creamy, almost like a scalloped potato. The best thing about this recipe is that it forms it’s sauce from juices of the squash itself, and a bit of milk. Sounds like a win to me! I love recipes that really highlight the ingredients and showcase what they have to offer. Complexities are great, but sometimes the basics are so satisfying.
- 2-2.5 pound zucchini
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ cup wild rice
- 1 cup minced white onion
- 5-6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups warm liquid (zucchini juices, plus milk).
- ⅔ cup grated parmesan (save 2 tbsp for topping)
- Salt & pepper
- Shred zucchini into colander and toss with 2 tsp of salt, allow liquid to drain into a bowl for about five minutes. Reserve the liquid for later.
- Before removing the zucchini, squeeze excess liquid out of it, and taste it. If the zucchini is too salty, rinse in a bowl of cold water, taste to make sure it's not too salty, and rinse again (not saving the water this time).
- While zucchini is draining, drop wild rice into boiling water. Continue boiling rice for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside (rice will not be fully cooked).
- In a large frying pan on medium heat, add 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, once heated saute onions 8-10 minutes.
- In a small pot, warm reserved liquid from zucchini (plus milk if you didn't get 2.5 cups of water from the zucchini).
- Raise to medium-high heat, letting the onions become lightly browned.
- Stir in grated, drained zucchini and garlic. Saute 5-6 minutes until zucchini is nearly tender. Sprinkle with flour, stirring for an additional 2 minutes before removing from heat.
- Gradually stir in zucchini-liquid and milk, mixing until flour is well blended and smooth.
- On medium-high heat, bring mixture to a simmer, stirring for about a minute, then remove from heat.
- Stir in rice, and all but 2 tablespoons of cheese, mixing until combined. Taste for seasoning, and adjust accordingly.
- Pour mixture into a 4-6 cup, heavy bottomed roasting dish (we used the Staub pan for everything).
- Spread remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese on top, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Preheat oven to 425F, cooking gratin until rice has absorbed all the liquid, and top is browned, about 30-45 minutes.
- If your top is not browned enough, broil for a few minutes.
Recipe adapted from Food 52 Genius Recipes.
I told Bob I would make this gratin, but then we got sidetracked by our baking extravaganza and ended up living off pies and breads. (Probably not the best, pre-Thanksgiving!) Will we get fat together? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I finally made my gratin. It was everything I hoped and more! My Staub pot just hasn’t got out there enough, so I was thrilled to watch it in the oven, filled with cheesy gratin. Bob took some sexy photos quickly, and then we got down to business.
This recipe is particularly great, because it has some rice in it, making it a simple solution to dinner, with a protein of your choice! Also, it’s easy to make ahead and pop in the oven to reduce a little. Awesome!