Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rice and Spinach Casserole with Basil

This is delicious! Even my 2-year-olds ate multiple helpings. I was a little skeptical, but this was definitely worth the effort involved. If you're a gardener, this is a perfect end of summer meal when your zucchini and basil are abundant. If you're not a gardener, you need to track down a source of free fresh basil! I used an extra egg and about 1/3 cup extra cottage cheese because that's what I had. The texture of the finished dish is not quiche-like (which you might think given the eggs/dairy); instead, it's very "casserole-y" for lack of a better word.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living and compliments of my friend Megan S

  • 2 c. cooked brown rice
  • 3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced
  • 2 scallions, sliced (or small amount of minced white onion)
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach (frozen can be used)
  • 2 c. loosely packed fresh basil
  • 1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese (about 9 ounces; well-drained if necessary)*
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper*
*You can substitute cottage cheese, but know that cottage cheese is saltier than ricotta; you may want to reduce the salt called for.

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Heat 2 T. oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, garlic, and scallions, and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 minutes more. Season with salt, and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Return pan to medium heat and add remaining tablespoon oil. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Add basil and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Drain if necessary.
  3. Whisk ricotta and eggs in a large bowl. Add 1 ½ c. cooked rice to mixture. Stir in cooked zucchini and spinach-basil mixtures. Add ¾ tsp. salt, and season with pepper.
  4. Combine Parmesan and remaining ½ c. rice in a small bowl. Lightly grease a 9-inch round baking dish (2-inches deep or so), and spoon ricotta mixture into dish. Top with Parmesan-rice mixture. Bake until filling is set and top is golden, 35-40 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. (If you add extra eggs/cheese, it will take a bit longer to cook...).

Serves 6 or so

Side Dish suggestions: fruit and a roll or muffin

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