I wouldn’t have given this recipe a second look if I hadn’t found it in a cookbook I just purchased. I wanted Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris for ages and luckily found the last copy at Costco recently. I love Ina’s books and the addition of this one completes my collection of her cookbooks. Like everybody else I have dozens of good zucchini recipes and most of them fall into just a few categories: tomato based dishes, stir-frys, soups and baked goods, and when I saw this recipe for zucchini in a white sauce it really didn’t appeal to me. Don’t know why but zucchini and white sauce are two ingredients I’ve never thought to combine, but I’ve never tried one of Ina’s recipes that I didn’t like so decided to go with that record and make her version of zucchini gratin.
The zucchini has a sweet, mild flavor when blended with the sauce (love the hint of nutmeg) and the buttered crumb topping adds a tasty bit of rich texture to the dish. This simple recipe is great as a quick weekday veggies or as a side for a very special dinner. Ina’s books are filled with excellent recipes like this and if I had to choose just one cookbook author to keep on my bookshelf it would be Ina. It’s my plan to try every recipe in Barefoot in Paris and I’ll be sharing all of them.
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping
- 1 pound yellow onions (3 large), cut in half and sliced
- 2 pounds zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup hot milk
- ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
- ¾ cup Gruyere cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Melt the butter in a very large (12 inch) saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8×10 inch baking dish.
- Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and browned.
Wouldn’t you know it! This is now one of my favorite zucchini recipes that I will prepare over and over. You won’t believe how perfectly all the flavors and textures come together in this quick and easy dish. This can be assembled ahead and baked just before dinner. It’s great with a roast and substantial enough to be a main dish if you are preparing a vegetarian meal. I use small zucchini, freshly picked, that are no longer than 6 inches. They don’t need to be peeled.
I’m linking this delicious recipe to StoneGable’s On the Menu Monday. Thanks, Yvonne, for hosting this event. I’m looking forward to all the wonderful recipes I’ll find there.
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