“Can I have the recipe for your…?” has got to be the best circuitous compliment that can be dished out as regards to a meal prepared for someone.
I love when people enjoy my cooking. Who wouldn’t? There is something so gratifying about connecting on such a basic yet significant level.
If you would like to experience this jubilation, and you know a cheese and rice lover, then prepare this exalted dish and listen to the silence of everyone eating–silence followed by ‘oohs’, ‘ahhhs’, and ‘wows’. And eventually a request for the recipe.
Gather your ingredients
- 2 oz/ 60 ml/ ¼ c olive oil
- 2 onions sliced into ¼” rounds
- 2 lbs/ 1 kg courgettes sliced into ¼” rounds
- 5 oz/ 125 g risotto rice
- 3 garlic cloves (or more!), fine chopped
- 9 oz/ 250 ml/ 1.125 c hot chicken stock
- ¼ ts garlic salt
- pinch or two of ground black pepper
- 1 c/ 236 ml/ 8 oz kefir, plain yogurt, crème fraîche, or sour cream (no surprise, I use kefir)
- 2 large eggs
- 1⁄8 ts nutmeg
- 14 oz/ 400 g grated cheese– cheddar, swiss, edam, mozzarella, gruyere, etc. Your choice. I usually use cheddar; it costs less. Divide, using one half for mixture and one half for the topping.
In a large non stick frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onions until they are soft and just golden.
Add courgettes to the pan with onions.
Mix together and continue to cook until courgettes begin to soften, about ten minutes.
Add the rice, garlic, stock, and the salt and pepper to the pan with courgette and onion and mix well.
Bring to a low simmer. Add cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring on occasion and making sure nothing is sticking to the base of the pan. While that cooks, prepare the cheese mixture as directed below and preheat the oven to 220° C/ 425° F/ gas 7.
Whisk together the eggs, kefir, and nutmeg. Add in 200 g/ half of the cheese and mix well. Meanwhile, pour the prepared courgette, onion, and rice mix into a large shallow casserole dish. Add to it the egg, kefir, and cheese mixture and combine well. Sprinkle with remaining 200 g/ half of the cheese and…
Bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is golden brown. Let rest 15 minutes before serving. It is even better reheated as leftovers and can be frozen before or after the final baking.
p.s. Mushrooms or aubergines make good substitutes, but all in our house preferred the courgettes.