• Ratatouille Casserole

    It’s that time of year….  If you are a home gardener (or live next to one), you know what I mean.  Zucchini and yellow squash coming out of your ears!  If you are lucky, perhaps you already have tomatoes also.  In my zone, I’m lucky to have any ripen before fall.  I live for this season, but it can be overwhelming.  My family agrees, so finding new recipes and ways to use the bounty is essential!  I stumbled across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen today and immediately knew what we were having for dinner tonight.  The original recipe looks fabulous, but I had to make do with what I had on hand, so a few changes were necessary.  The best thing about casserole type dishes is their ability to adapt and the fact that measurements can often be approximate–perfect for me!  This dish will be much faster to make if you use leftover or quick cooking rice, but if you use a brown or wild rice like I did, start it early enough to cook through and cool.

    Ingredients:

    1 1/2-2 c cooked rice

    2 eggs

    1 whole yellow or sweet onion

    4-6 cloves garlic

    1 Tbsp dried thyme or 3 Tbsp fresh thyme

    2-3 oz grated cheese of choice

    about 3 small/med zucchini and/or yellow squash

    fresh or sundried tomatoes (rehydrated in hot water or warm oil, according to directions, if needed)

    s&p to taste

    First, I cooked up my rice as normal.  I like to use whatever stock I have on hand for extra flavor, but water works too.  If you add 2-3 Tbsp of butter to your rice before it cooks, you won’t even have to grease your casserole dish.  While the rice is cooking, chop your onion and throw in a heavy skillet on medium low heat with just a tsp of butter or oil.  Don’t stir the onions too much, as you want to give them time to sweat and caramelize the sugars in them.  For a true caramelized onion, that takes about 20-25 minutes, stirring just a few times.  If they start to stick, turn the heat down a notch.  While the onions are cooking, peel and finely chop your garlic and toss in with the onion.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Then wash and trim the ends of your zucchini and/or squash.  Slice in 1/4″ rounds and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  If using fresh tomatoes, slice and core them also, placing in a single layer on a separate lined baking sheet.  Roast the zucchini/squash slices about 10 minutes, then remove and flip them, returning to the oven for another 10 minutes.  No need to flip fresh tomatoes, just remove at 10 minutes.  Turn oven down to 350 degrees F.

    Once the rice has cooled, mix in the 2 eggs, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix in caramelized onions and garlic then transfer mixture to your 9×13″ casserole dish, smoothing into a flat layer.  Layer on your sliced and roasted squash…..

    and then the tomatoes and cheese:

    Pop the whole dish back in the hot oven and let it bake for 15-20 minutes.  Allow it to cool a few minutes and dish it up!

    Oh, uh, oops!  I didn’t get a picture of the finished dish fast enough 🙂

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