Courgette/Zucchini Gratin

In just a little over 2 weeks, Rob and I are heading on a 2 week holiday to JAPAN! I am beyond excited, as we have this holiday booked for about 9 months and it’s finally creeping around the corner. Neither of us have ever been to Asia and it’s been on our top destinations list since we met and seen as it is also coming up to our 5 year anniversary we thought to treat ourselves (bigtime) and go to Japan to where a good friend of ours, Karen, lives in Tokyo. There is a huge amount that goes into planning a trip like this, and for someone that usually likes to have EVERYTHING organised and prepared I’m finding it a little difficult to just let go and see where the mood takes us. I am planning to document the main parts of our trip as I have found it difficult to find certain blogs or blog posts for people that are into a less touristy focused trip and majorly foodie focused one. So hopefully we can get some really good content and share it with everyone when we are back.

Moving on to the present day, this is a dish I have been loving to cook mid week as something really comforting and vegetarian, as I prefer to cook mainly vegetarian meals during the week (with the exception of fish, I could eat fish any day of the week). Courgette/Zucchini is something that I also seem to have a load of in the fridge because it’s pretty cheap and I love it for bulking up pasta dishes and throwing into different dishes. So when I want something comforting, I have been reaching for this recipe.

Courgette Zucchini Gratin
Recipe adapted from Food 52 Genius Recipes (FYI, I bloody love this cookbook)

Ingredients
900g zucchini/courgette
90g white/brown rice
160g chopped onions
5/6 tbsp olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp flour
590ml liquid (consisting of zucchini juices plus milk)
65g grated Parmesan cheese (save 2 tablespoons for later)
Salt and pepper
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Method
Start by grating your courgette into a colander, sprinkle with a tsp of salt and sit the colander/sieve over an empty bowl to catch all the juices. Leave for about 10mins to gather the juices, then squeeze all of the excess juices from the courgette and place onto some kitchen towl. Keep the juices to the side for later.

Preheat your oven to 220°C or 425°F.

Cook your rice for 5 minutes exactly, drain and leave to the side for later.

In a large frying pan, cook the onions in the oil for about 8 mins on a low heat until translucent in colour and tender. Bring up the heat, and begin to brown. Stir in the courgette and garlic and fry all together for about 5 minutes. On a medium heat, sprinkle in the flour. Keep stirring for about 2 mins to cook off the flour and take off the heat.

Measure your courgette juices from earlier, add in milk till you have 590ml. The courgette juices will probably take up 2/3 of the liquid amount. Heat this gently in a saucepan, until it is warm, don’t boil it. Then, gradually add this liquid into the courgette and onion mixutre, constantly stirring to create a smooth consistency. Place the pan back onto a medium-high heat and bring to a simmer while stirring. Add in your par cooked rice, parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg (if you are using). Taste for seasoning, most important part.

For putting into the oven, you can either place everything into a greased baking dish or if you were frying everything up in a cast iron/oven proof pan then you can use that. Either way, sprinkle with the reserved 2 tablespoons of parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the gratin is bubbling and all golden and lovely.

You can eat this hot or cold, it’s really great as a side dish but I love it so much it usually takes centre stage on our plates.

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