Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Zucchini And Cremini Mushroom Gratin. Gluten Free

on October 8, 2015

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Gratins are the easiest yet the most elegant looking appetizers to serve to your guests. Everyone gets their own individual dish. That always seems to make friends and family feel extra special. Whenever I make a tomato sauce, I always seem to have plenty left over. There’s just two of us so I’m always trying to think up different ways to use any leftover sauce. That’s how this dish came to be. This recipe can be made easy enough if you don’t have leftover sauce. All you would have to do is to buy your favorite jarred marinara sauce.

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In a large sautè pan on medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Slice 1/2 a pint of Cremini mushrooms and throw them right into the pan set on med-high heat. I like to add 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves, but dried thyme is fine. Use 1 teaspoon of the dried. I also add black pepper and Kosher salt to taste.  I don’t salt the mushrooms until they reached the brown stage. The salt will cause them to release their water and they won’t brown properly. Once you see they are nice and caramelized, just sprinkle salt to taste. The sauteing of the mushrooms will only take about 10 minutes. Once the mushrooms have been sauteed, remove them from the pan and place them into a bowl until we need them again.

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I have 2 zucchinis and 1 yellow squash that I’ve sliced about 1/2 an inch thick. I have them in a bowl where I’ve added Kosher salt and pepper. Using the same pan, on med heat, I add in 1/4 cup of olive oil that I let get really hot. I carefully place the sliced zucchini and squash in not to overcrowd. This needs to be done in two separate batches. They will shallow fry for about 2 minutes per side. I do this just long enough for the veggies to soften and get some nice color on them before they go into the gratin dishes.I have a large plate lined with a paper towel so once the veggies are done sauteing, they go right onto the plate to remove any extra oil that may be on them.

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I already have my leftover tomato sauce set in a bowl and ready. In a separate bowl, I make the cheese filling for the gratin. I have some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that I’ve ground up in my mini food processor. I add half of the cheese I ground up, into the bowl with some Ricotta, egg, some freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley,  and a sprinkling of Kosher salt, black pepper. Finally some half and half. I use the half and half just to thin the mixture out a bit. So now the cheesy gratin part is done. It’s time to assemble.

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I figured with the number of mushrooms and zucchini slices, I had enough veggies to make 3 individual gratins. You don’t want to overfill the dishes. I started with the zucchini and squash slices first. One even layer at the bottom of the dishes. Next, a thin layer of homemade marinara sauce. I like using homemade marinara because it already has the onions, garlic, and basil. On top of that, the sliced cremini mushrooms. I sprinkle just a little of the grated cheese, that I reserved, on top of the mushroom. Then I spoon on the cheese mixture. Lastly, the rest of the reserved Parmigiano-Reggiano, I sprinkle evenly on top of each one.

I place the 3 gratins on two baking sheets to prevent any spillover. Preheat oven to 400- degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes. When finished, garnish with some chopped flat leaf Italian parsley.

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Yields: 3 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes, allowing for the sautèing of the vegetables
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Equipment: 3 gratin dishes, 1 rimmed sheet pan

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil for sautèing mushrooms
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
3/4 cup homemade marinara sauce ( bottled is fine)
2 tablespoons of thyme leaves (or1 tablespoon dried thyme)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (for seasoning zucchini and squash)
1 teaspoon black pepper (for seasoning zucchini and squash
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese
1/4 cup half and half
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup of freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley ( reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, carefully add the unsalted butter and olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and fresh thyme leaves. Sautè the mushrooms, about 5-7 minutes, or until they’ve browned nicely. One the mushrooms have browned season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste and stir. Note: Wait to salt the mushrooms until they’ve browned completely. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

Next, in the same large sautè pan still on medium-high heat, add olive oil, zucchini, and yellow squash slices. Sautè about 7-10 minutes or until they get a nice color on them. You made need to do this in two batches. Transfer the sliced veggies to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

While that’s working, go ahead and process the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a food processor.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl add the ricotta, egg, half and half, 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a pinch each of Kosher salt and black pepper, mix to combine.  If you are using leftover marinara or are using bottled have it ready.

In each of 3 gratin dishes, place a layer of the zucchini and squash. Next, and a thin layer of the marinara sauce. To that the sautèed mushrooms. I sprinkle a little of the reserved grated cheese on top of the mushrooms. Then, spoon on a third of the ricotta cheese mixture.

Finally, top each gratin with a tablespoon of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Place the dishes on a rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes. When they come out of the oven, garnish with the parsley. Serve while hot.


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