This is my adaptation of an Ina Garten recipe. I was watching Ina’s show on television recently and saw her use zucchini to make a gratin. For once, I had all the ingredients on hand and was able to try it out immediately. According to Ina, this gratin can be assembled a day in advance and baked just when needed.
3 Tbsp butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
2 large zucchini, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 tsp all-purpose flour
½ to ¾ cup milk (I use 2%)
¾ cup grated mozzarella (I kept the block of cheese in the freezer for 15 minutes to make grating it easier)
½ to ¾ cup bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan and cook the onions till soft. Add the red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and nutmeg followed by the zucchini and cook until tender.
Stir in the flour and then add the milk. Mix well to remove any lumps that may be present. Cook over low heat until it thickens to form a sauce.
Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish. (I used a 9-inch pie dish for this.)
Mix the bread crumbs with the grated cheese and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture.
Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is all bubbly and the surface develops a nice brown crust.
Notes: I think I’ll try grating the zucchini (instead of making rounds) and squeezing out the excess water from it when I make this gratin the next time. There was something not quite right about the texture here. I’ll also use another kind of cheese- the Mozzarella here gave the gratin a slightly chewy and almost rubbery texture. Ina recommends Gruyère cheese for this recipe.