You gotta’ love the New York Times cooking section. They offer up some amazing recipes and that’s where I got the idea for this dish. They have some truly spectacularly delicious recipes. This dish works on so many levels. I savored some of the leftover for lunch, all by itself and it was delicious. Filling, but not too filling. Completely tasty and when I zapped it, it reheated nicely. This dish is one of the reasons to love leftovers. For the vegetarian in your life, this will absolutely work as an entrée…win-win for everyone.
This goes together easily—Heat a 2-quart stove top-to-oven dish (a skillet will work, too) over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel, stir it around often, and cook until the veggies are translucent. Stir in the garlic and rice; cook, stirring occasional. The idea is to coat the rice with oil; deglaze the pan with the wine and broth. Lower the heat and stir in the diced summer squash. Cover and simmer gently for about 8-10 minutes. The rice won’t be tender, and most of the liquid will be absorbed. Season liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. Pour the diced tomatoes (with their juice) over the rice mixture. Sprinkle with the thyme, and give the mixture a good stir. Cover again and continue to cook, for about 5 minutes. Stir the mixture and remove the pan from the heat. Combine the creams and pour over the mixture. If you prefer use broth instead of the creams, but the cream is so good. Give the mixture a gentle, but good stir. Sprinkle the cheeses over the mixture; cover and pop the pan in the oven. Bake for about 15-25 minutes, or until the top is browned and the gratin is sizzling. Remove from the oven, (I remove the lid) and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the basil over the top. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature; I like it best at warm room temperature. I served this along side a pork roast with some Quick Fresh Fruit Salsa. It was perfect.
Provençal Tomato, Fennel and Squash Gratin
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb (use some of the fronds for garnish)
- 1/2 pound summer squash, cut in 1/2-inch dice
- 1 cup raw rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup broth or water
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, basil or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried herbs
- 1 15-ounce can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, with their juice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (see NOTE)
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese, grated (2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- 1 to 2 tablespoons slivered or chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the oil in a 2-quart stove top-to-oven gratin or baking dish. Heat the pan over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel; cook, stirring often, until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir in the rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, to coat the rice with oil, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and broth. Stir in the diced summer squash, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for about 8-10 minutes. The rice won’t be tender. Sprinkle liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. Pour the diced tomatoes (with their juice) over the rice mixture. Sprinkle with the thyme, and give the mixture a good stir. Continue to cook, covered for about 5 minutes. Stir the mixture and remove the pan from the heat.
Combine the creams; pour over the mixture and give the mixture a good stir. Sprinkle with the cheeses. Cover and place the pan in the oven. Continue to bake for about 15-25 minutes, or until the top is browned and the gratin is sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the basil over the top. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
NOTE: You can partially prepare this several hours in advance, up to the point of adding the cream. Then continue with the recipe. I think this would be delicious with sautéed mushrooms and artichoke hearts added with the tomatoes. Also, if you wish, beat 3 eggs well with the cream and pour it over the mixture. I didn’t do this and it held together well and was completely delicious. The cooked gratin keeps well for several days and it reheats very well.
Provençal Tomato, Fennel and Squash Gratin Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.