This recipe takes some effort, no question, but the end result is creamy, loaded with vegetables, and whole grain hearty. This keeps well and can be sliced and eaten at room temperature or reheated for lunch the next day.
To serve 6-8 as a side dish:
- 1 1/2 pounds squash (I used zucchini and pattypan squash)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/3 cup short grain brown rice
- 1/3 cup quinoa
- 3 cups water
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 leeks, white and light green parts chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 5 ounces chopped, frozen spinach, thawed
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 pint half & half
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pattypan squash, for garnish
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grate the squash on the large holes of a grater and place in a colander in the sink. Sprinkle the salt over it and toss with your hands to mix. Let the squash drain.
In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa and rice and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium high heat and add the shallots and leeks. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium.
With several paper towels, press down on the squash in the colander until most of the moisture is squeezed out. Add the squash to the skillet, along with the spinach, and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over and stir continuously, cooking for a minute more. Stir in the reserved grains and cook for a minute more. Add the half & half and the 1/2 cup of cheese, mixing well. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper, stir and taste, adjusting the seasoning accordingly. Turn off the heat.
Thinly slice the remaining pattypan (or zucchini) on a mandoline and place the slices on the top of the pie, overlapping the edges slightly. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese over the top and place in the center of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The top should be golden and bubbling around the edges. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.