The March 2008 issue of Gourmet came the other day, and I decided to make the recipe for zucchini rice gratin. It was really good, but from start to finish, it took nearly 1.5 hours, which in my opinion is far too long for a side dish. The one thing that really bothered me about this recipe is that it is advertised as a quick dish for taking 25 minutes, but you must look closely at the recipe, because that’s 25 minutes of prep time, but nearly 1.5 hours of total time. I’d have to give Gourmet an F for misleading its readers. Overall we liked the dish, but given the time it takes to make, I probably would only make it again if we are having guests over.
- 1/3 cup long-grain white rice
- 1 1/2 lb zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 6 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 lb plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
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, 1/4 cup cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread half of rice mixture in a shallow 2-quart baking dish, then top with half of zucchini. Spread remaining rice mixture over zucchini, then top with remaining zucchini. Top with tomatoes and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
Bake in upper third of oven until set and golden brown, about 20 minutes.