Ina Garten’s Baked Spinach and Zucchini
Baked spinach and zucchini are anything but a snooze-fest when Ina Garten gets her hands on them. Why? The Barefoot Contessa adds basmati rice and two different types of cheese. Genius.
In Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks, Garten explains her inspiration for the dish: “No one taught me more about cooking than my late dear friend Anna Pump, who wrote many wonderful cookbooks [and owned the Hamptons-based specialty food shop Loaves & Fishes]. I think of her often, but always when I’m making a dish inspired by her, such as this easy spinach and zucchini gratin.”
Some final parting wisdom from the queen herself: Make sure you’re getting true aged Parmesan from Italy and grate it yourself. Pre-grated cheeses, even from a specialty food store, are often made from lesser Parmesan. And no one wants that.
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, divided
Good olive oil
6 scallions, white and green parts, sliced ¼ inch across
1 pound small zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds (4 zucchini)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
Two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 cup cooked basmati rice
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 extra-large eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, plus extra
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-14-by-2-inch oval baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and zucchini, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Lightly press most of the water out of the spinach and add it to the pan. Add the rice, basil, parsley, nutmeg, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; toss well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and the ¼ cup Parmesan. Pour the mixture over the spinach and zucchini; smooth the top. Sprinkle with some extra Parmesan and the Gruyère. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes.