Zucchini, Rice and Cheese Gratin Adapted from smitten kitchen, From Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II. Serves 6
~1 kg zucchini (I used 3 green & yellow squash)
90 grams plain, uncooked white rice
1 medium onion, minced (I used 2 shallots)
75 mL olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
15 g all-purpose flour
Milk, as needed (I used veg. broth)
55 g grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Butter for dish
Wash the zucchini and trim ends. Halve lengthwise. Coarsely grate and toss with salt in a colander set over a bowl. Let drain for 20-30 minutes. Save the drained liquid. Taste. If too salty, rinse and drain the zucchini again (not saving the liquid this time). Squeeze in handfuls, gently, collecting the drained liquid. Blot dry on a paper towel.
Saute the onions on medium-low in olive oil for 8 – 10 minutes, until tender and translucent. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until lightly browned. Stir in the grated (dry) zucchini and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Toss and turn for 5 – 6 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.
Measure the drained liquid. If you have less than 600 mL, add milk/broth until you have this. Stir this into the zucchini-onion mixture, return pan to stove over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from heat again, stir in the rice and all but 2 tablespoons cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
In a baking dish, add mixture, then sprinkle with reserved cheese and remaining olive oil/butter. Heat oven to 220 deg C. Bake in upper third of oven until bubbling and browned on top, about 25 – 30 minutes. (If yours begins to brown too quickly, you can cover it with foil up until the last 5 minutes.) The rice should absorb all the liquid. Serve immediately.