Monday, July 18, 2011

Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Rice Gratin w/ Fresh Herbs




I was concerned about my zucchini and squash plants in mid June when I first noticed some squash bugs hanging out on them. This is my third year growing vegetables. 2007, 2008, and this year. In 2008 I waged war on squash bugs and lost and I decided I wasn't going to put myself and the bugs through all that again. I just picked up the bugs and threw them into the woods. Anyway, I had decided that gardening is about the process, not the results. I enjoy digging in the dirt, listening to the birds and admiring nature.

I considered buying some organic pesticide, but I really didn't want to spend the money. Anyway, I couldn't sprinkle a bunch of poison around those plants. Organic or not it would kill bugs and the garden is well populated with really large beautiful garden spiders and many more innocent bugs. A few zucchini wouldn't be worth all that. I weeded, watered, mulched and just let things be.



I have one zucchini plant and one yellow crook neck squash. Both heirloom varieties from Uwharrie Heirlooms. These plants are awesome. They are strong and healthy and producing plenty of delicious fruit. There are still a few squash bugs but there are also still a bunch of spiders and other beneficial insects. The garden is in natural balance.

Yesterday, after harvesting basil, oregano, thyme, tomatoes, and zucchini I created this gratin for our dinner. It was really delicious. We had it with a salad which included homegrown green peppers, cucumbers, and more purple basil, along with homemade ranch dressing.



Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Rice Gratin w/ Fresh Herbs
adapted from this

3 cups cooked brown rice
1 ½ pounds zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thick
5-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound San Marzano tomatoes, sliced ¼ thick
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano)
½ cup grated Italian Blend Cheese (mozzarella, provolone, asiago, parmesan, romano), divided


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 at 450° F., turning vegetables once halfway through roasting, until tender and light golden, about 10 minutes for tomatoes; 20 minutes for zucchini. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt in 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet, until soft and translucent about 7- 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in herbs.
Stir together onion mixture, cooked rice, eggs, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground 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. Sprinkle extra basil leaves on top.

Bake until set and golden brown, about 15 - 20 minutes.

Enjoy!





Peace and Love,

Stephanie

4 comments:

  1. Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, I've got to try this! I actually squish any squash bugs I see, though I haven't been very diligent this year.

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  3. The squash bugs have been killing my pattypan squash, but like you I don't want to use pesticides or kill them, really. I did get enough for my family, so I don't mind sharing. :) Your gratin sounds absolutely wonderful-- I will have to try this.

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