Julia Child's Tian de Courgettes au Riz (Zucchini Tian)

By • August 14, 2012 52 Comments

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Author Notes: Two-plus pounds of zucchini doesn't look so demanding once you shred, salt, and squeeze it dry. It sheds its water weight, leaving a tamed pile and a lot of green, lightly salted liquid. You could simply warm the shreds through with onions and garlic or simmer in cream -- or cook it into this smart zucchini and rice tian. From Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two (Alfred A. Knopf, 1970)Genius Recipes

Serves 6

Courgettes Rapées (Grated and Salted Zucchini)

  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds zucchini
  • 1/2 cup plain, raw, untreated white rice
  • 1 cup minced onions
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • About 2 1/2 cups warm liquid: zucchini juices plus milk, heated in a pan (watch this closely so that it doesn't curdle)
  • About 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese (save 2 tablespoons for later)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A heavily buttered 6- to 8-cup, flameproof baking and serving dish about 1 1/2 inches deep
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Shave the stem and the tip off each zucchini (or other summer squash), scrub the vegetable thoroughly but not harshly with a brush under cold running water to remove any clinging sand or dirt.
  2. If vegetables are large, halve or quarter them. If seeds are large and at all tough, and surrounding flesh is coarse rather than moist and crisp, which is more often the case with yellow squashes and striped green cocozelles than with zucchini, cut out and discard the cores.
  3. Rub the squash against the coarse side of a grater, and place grated flesh in a colander set over a bowl.
  4. For each 1 pound (2 cups) of grated squash, toss with 1 teaspoon of salt, mixing thoroughly. Let the squash drain 3 or 4 minutes, or until you are ready to proceed.
  5. Just before cooking, squeeze a handful dry and taste. If by any chance the squash is too salty, rinse in a large bowl of cold water, taste again; rinse and drain again if necessary. Then squeeze gently by handfuls, letting juices run back into bowl. Dry on paper towels. Zucchini will not be fluffy; it is still dampish, but the excess liquid is out. The pale-green, slightly saline juice drained and squeezed out of the zucchini has a certain faint flavor that can find its uses in vegetable soups, canned soups, or vegetable sauces.

Tian de Courgettes au Riz [Gratin of Zucchini, Rice, and Onions with Cheese]

  1. While the shredded zucchini is draining (reserve the juices,) drop the rice into boiling salted water, bring rapidly back to the boil, and boil exactly 5 minutes; drain and set aside.
  2. In a large (11-inch) frying pan, cook the onions slowly in the oil for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and translucent. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until very lightly browned.
  3. Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic. Toss and turn for 5 to 6 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.
  5. Gradually stir in the 2 1/2 cups warm liquid (zucchini juices plus milk, heated gently in a pan -- don't let it get so hot that the milk curdles!). Make sure the flour is well blended and smooth.
  6. Return over moderately high heat and bring to the simmer, stirring. Remove from the heat again, stir in the blanched rice and all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Taste very carefully for seasoning. Turn into buttered baking dish, strew remaining cheese on top, and dribble the olive oil over the cheese.
  7. About half an hour before serving, bring to simmer on top of stove (you can skip this step if your baking dish isn't flameproof), then set in upper third of a preheated 425-degree F oven until tian is bubbling and top has browned nicely. The rice should absorb all the liquid.

More Great Recipes: Zucchini|Vegetables|Entrees|Side Dishes|Olive Oil

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Comments (52) Questions (4)


19 days ago PegBee

Wonderful recipe just as it is. I made a vegan version for my daughter by simply omitting the cheese and using an equal amount of drained zucchini juices, retained starchy par-cooked rice water and veggie stock for the 2-1/2 cups of juices the recipe calls for. I must say the vegan version was creamy and very delicious also!"


27 days ago Claudia

Followed the recipe as written this evening for dinner -- used 2% milk. Some recipes come out as only the sum of the ingredients -- but this rather small number of ingredients all amplified to make something more. It was a little soupy -- not surprising -- and next time I'll serve with a nice seedy bread to soak up the sauce.


4 months ago jcasare

This was delicious! I did make two changes to reduce time and dirty pans as suggested by others and it didn't seem to hurt the dish. I didn't parboil the rice- just added it after the zucchini. I didn't transfer the whole thing to another buttered dish, just did the whole thing in a cast iron skilled, stove top to oven. Worked great. Liquid/rice ratios are right on. Trust Julia.


9 months ago robin lewis

What size/type of flameproof baking dish works here (one of the Staub ones at Provisions by Food52, and if so which size)?... Or, if nothing else, will a buttered cast iron skillet pan work for step 7?


9 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Julia suggests a 6- to 8-cup, flameproof baking and serving dish about 1 1/2 inches deep -- I think the 12x9-inch Staub oval roasting pan would work well (or a large cast iron skillet). If you have a bit too much to fit in one dish, you can always bake off the rest in a smaller dish.


10 months ago joann

Made this for a party, and it was a huge hit... delicious1


12 months ago peg denton

I just had an amazing cooking experience with my garden squashes thanks to you, and I have to tell you about it! I made the zucchini butter - tons of it, because we love it. But then I saw this recipe and decided to sort of put them together. So to the zucchini butter I added brown rice and parmesan cheese - Oh My God! I'm sure it's pretty close to this, isn't it? If not, who cares? Man this stuff is good! Thank you for opening my eyes to other ways to cook.


12 months ago SpaCook

Peg, how long did you bake and how much rice did you use? Would love to try this iteration!


12 months ago peg denton

The brown rice was already cooking, so I added the entire 2 cups of rice to about 1/2 recipe of zucchini butter and 2/3 cup of parmesan, and baked it at 400 degrees until it was hot. Man, that's good stuff!


about 1 year ago Mary Ellen Segraves

How long should it bake at 425? I didn't see the time mentioned in her cookbook or above. Does anyone have an approximation? Thanks!


about 1 year ago Nagi

About 25 - 30 minutes. Cover it for the first 15 minutes, then remove cover. Otherwise the top gets too brown.


about 1 year ago Lori Fausnacht Fischer

Saw this recipe this afternoon and decided to make it for dinner since I'm inundated with zucchini ... so amazing! I made it with half milk and half chicken broth for the liquids and the kids loved it. Thanks!


over 1 year ago zeldie

Found this recipe to be a pain. Why rice? It just doesn't belong. ISecond time I left rice out and simplified the recipe. I just found the pieces of rice in the dish out of place as did my guests. Preheat oven to 425. . grate zucchini as said. Sauté some onions in large skillet, bring bowl of zucchini near skillet and squeeze handfuls of zucchini (let liquid drain into bowl. toss the squeezed handfuls into skillet w onion till all zucchini is squeezed. . Ok to leave a few zucchini strands in liquid. Keep liquid. Toss zucchini w onions then sprinkle w flour, toss, pour 1/2 cup milk and 3/4 cup liquid into mix (no need to warm ) and toss around. Grate cheese in . But buttered dish in oven till butter sizzles then toss in zucchini mix. Smooth top lower to 350. 3rd time I added 2 eggs for a more soufflé kind of dish. Liked it even more.


over 1 year ago Andreas Düss

Totally different dish. The original recipe is for a classic tian, yours isn't.


about 2 years ago Megan

Made this last night as a side to accompany my hubby's birthday dinner. It is amazing! Worth the effort - which is really not that bad!


about 2 years ago Andreas Düss

One of my favourite Child recipes, and one of my children's favourite things to eat, but the recipe far too complicated, and needlessly so. There's no need at all to bother with salting the zucchini, there's no need to pre-cook the rice for exactly five minutes.

Saute onions, add zucchini and garlic, flour, milk, etc and proceed from there - much as one would for a baked risotto. I've made both and the results are identical.


about 1 year ago Nagi

Do you still use the same quantity of liquid?


about 2 years ago foodforthought-jelena

Than you for this great recipe. Made it, loved it and it is a keeper.


about 2 years ago Debbie Lawson

I add the flour right after sautéing the zucchini and garlic and cook for 2 mins.Then I add 1 1/2 cup milk/zucchini juice. I blend this in then add the rice, thyme, pepper and 3/4 c parmesan. I don't reheat at this point before putting it in the baking dish. At this point you could easily refrigerate and cook the next day. I've done it many times and it comes out just as delicious! Bon appétit!


about 2 years ago SpaCook

Thanks a million!


about 2 years ago SpaCook

I've made this numerous time and have always LOVED it. I need something for a luncheon and would need to cook ahead of schedule. Any idea if this will keep overnight prepared up to step 5 or 6, then brought up to a simmer before popping in the oven?


over 2 years ago Kater

Delicious and risotto -like with brown rice, but a much longer parboil and eventual baking time...perhaps too much zucchini water, plus water in my case..no milk in the house. but quite delicious!


almost 3 years ago jstew52

Ditto to kapnic. So good!!


almost 3 years ago kapnic

i couldn't resist and added a little cheddar on top too but oh my this is so yummy. i will definitely add it to my favorites list


about 3 years ago fearlessem

I'm confused at how 1/2 a cup of raw rice can wind up absorbing 2.5 cups of liquid (plus whatever residual liquid the zucchini releases... How does this work?


almost 3 years ago devendra

I guess is similar to what happens when we make pudding. I frequently use 2 cups of rice to thicken whole gallon of milk.


about 3 years ago tota

Tihis was super easy and absolutely delicious! Even pulled straight out of fridge, cold, as a leftover the next day...I think my first Julia Child recipe ever, but one I will use again often.


about 3 years ago Laurie Alvandian

This was the first Julia Child recipe I've made and it came out fantastic! I'm not ashamed to say that I ate the whole thing. I'm making it again tomorrow to take to a brunch - here's hoping the first time wasn't just beginners luck!

Thanks for sharing the great recipe!