What’s for Dinner?

September 19, 2010

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Zucchini Tomato Rice Gratin with Sausage

As the end of the summer vegetable season approaches, this is one of those recipes I turn to.  I found it in Gourmet Magazine back in 2008 and it quickly became one of my favorites.  You can use it as a vegetarian main dish, or do as I do and serve it with sausage for a delicious and not-too-heavy spring-or-fall meal.

So on Saturday morning I headed to the Union Square Greenmarket and picked up some of the last-of-the-season tomatoes, zucchini and a round of lamb sausage.  I put the gratin together earlier in the day and grilled the sausage using my grill pan right before dinner time.  A great, stress-free meal.

I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe – I used 1/2 cup rice…swapped the Parmesan cheese out for Pecorino (for more flavor!)….added a few splashes of hot sauce and about a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Also added some smoked mozzarella and some fresh basil between the rice and zucchini layers….and I buttered the casserole dish and dusted with seasoned breadcrumbs to give it a bit of a crust once baked.  I also added the ‘tomato’ into the title as I think it is just as much of a player as the zucchini and rice and therefore deserves billing. *smile*

Zucchini Tomato and Rice Gratin
Serves 4 – 6

1/2 cup Long-Grain White Rice
1 1/2 pounds Zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
6 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1/2 pounds Plum Tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 medium Onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
2 large Eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Thyme, chopped
4 splashes Hot Sauce (I use Franks)
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup grated Romano Cheese, divided
1 Tbsp softened butter (for greasing casserole dish)
1/3 cup Breadcrumbs, dried or fresh.  (I used dried)
4 ounces Smoked Mozzarella, shredded
Handful of Fresh Basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 450°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Cook rice according to package instructions.

While rice cooks, toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow baking pan. Toss tomatoes with 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another baking pan.

Roast zucchini in upper third of oven and tomatoes in lower third, turning vegetables once halfway through roasting, until tender and light golden, about 10 minutes for tomatoes; 20 minutes for zucchini. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt in 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir together onion mixture, cooked rice, eggs, thyme, hot sauce, dijon mustard, 1/4 cup Romano cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Butter the inside of your shallow, 2-quart casserole dish and dust with breadcrumbs.

Spread half of rice mixture the baking dish, sprinkle with half the basil and half the shredded smoked mozzarella, then top with half of zucchini.

Spread remaining rice mixture over zucchini, then remaining basil and smoked mozzarella, then top with remaining zucchini.

Top with tomatoes and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Romano cheese.

Bake in upper third of oven until set and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Filed Under: Mains, Recipe, Savory, Sides, Vegetarian-Friendly, What's For Dinner

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