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

August 14, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

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
Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 10 min


Courgettes Rapées (Grated and Salted Zucchini)

  • 2 pounds zucchini (up to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup plain, raw, untreated white rice
  • 1 cup minced onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (up to 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups warm liquid: zucchini juices plus milk, heated in a pan (watch this closely so that it doesn't curdle)
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (save 2 tablespoons for later)
  • 1 pinch Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

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

In This Recipe


Courgettes Rapées (Grated and Salted Zucchini)

  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 a heavily buttered 6- to 8-cup, flameproof baking and serving dish about 1 1/2 inches deep, 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:
French|Milk/Cream|Vegetable|Zucchini|Make Ahead|Serves a Crowd|Summer|Vegetarian|Entree|Side

Reviews (64) Questions (4)

64 Reviews

molly L. October 17, 2018
this was absolutely lovely -- i did parboil the rice but next time I make it I will try omitting that step. i was hesitant about so much liquid, but Julia was right. trust the recipe! i added the 2 tbs parmesan about halfway through baking and it worked wonderfully.
Bruce D. September 6, 2017
This has been a summer favorite of mine for over 25 years. I look forward to the onslaught of the big green monster every summer. My recipe is a little different, I use eggs and Gruyère cheese in addition to the Parmesan to thicken it. This dish comes out perfect every single time, and is great to bring to a summer potluck.
Talia August 4, 2018
At what point do you add your eggs?
Bruce D. October 18, 2018
Hi Talia - here's my recipe


1 quart water
1/2 cup long-grain rice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, coarsely grated
2 eggs
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground pepper

Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan. Add the rice and cook gently for 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and then put in a bowl.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat in a large frying pan. Add the onions and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft. Add to the bowl.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the frying pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the zucchini and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until wilted. Add to the bowl with the rice.

Lightly whisk the eggs and add them to the bowl with 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, the garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter an 8- by 10-inch baking dish. Turn the zucchini mixture into the baking dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 15 minutes. Increase the oven heat to 450 degrees and continue baking for about 10 minutes more until the tian is lightly browned and set.

Puffin November 13, 2016
I probably boiled rice too long since it did not absorb the liquid much. Or 2-1/2 cup liquid could be too much. It came out more like risotto. I will try again with less liquid and less boiling rice next time. Tasted wonderful, though.
tota August 5, 2016
I need to make this again, forgot about until I saw comments. So yummy, so Julia!!
Natalie R. August 4, 2016
I found the original recipe for the baking time, but in my oven it took longer (45 minutes, but it was in the upper third). Some people said to cover it, but I just waited to add the final cheese until the very end (last 5-10 minutes).

One note about this recipe (which I LOVE as a light summer meal) - don't be afraid to substitute pretty much any cheese. I used a very high quality cheese with the texture of Gruyere but with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, and I've used completely different cheeses at other times. The only concern is the moisture content. I like doing this because it keeps the recipe interesting.

Another note is that you can use a variety of liquids to supplement the zucchini. I've used broth and even just the boiling water from the rice (which was actually very nice). For flour, I've used oat flour, wheat flour, and this last time I used the rice flour leftover from cleaning my grain mill. I think rice flour actually turned out the best for gluing it together.
Zita F. March 9, 2016
This is my new favourite dinner dish! I loved it
Susan L. February 24, 2016
Just made this for lunch. The renovation workers at my home in France loved it!
My zucchinis had only a tablespoon of water after draining for 2 hours so I just added them to the pan without squeezing. I also skipped the par cooking of the rice as my rice cooks very quickly and uses less water than some. I just added it to the pan and let it cook with the zucc. I also added herbs de provence and used pecorino instead of parm. The sauce thickened up well and was absorbed by the rice creating a light béchamel. I used the same pan in the oven as on the stove with a lid while the rice cooked, which I removed after 25 minutes for browning. I was surprised how lovely it tasted! Very complex flavour, light and creamy without too much fat. Will make this again and again.
TishNYC February 2, 2016
Leave it to Julia to give us such a splendid recipe. It's both delicate and flavorful at the same time, lovely with fish (I made mine to go with pan roasted salmon) but it would be equally good with meat or poultry. The only edit I made to the recipe was to add a few shot of Tabasco at the end when the rice is added and before the final cooking.

To the question of how long to bake it (and why would such a key piece of info be left out both here and in the Genius Cookbook?) -- I baked mine for about 20 to 25 minutes and it was perfect (I was using a 2" deep baking dish). Keep an eye on it and you'll begin to see it set up and the surface become slightly browned.

A last important step: let it sit for about 8 to 10 minutes before serving. It will still be hot and the dish will settle down and hold together for serving.

While on my first making I added the called for drizzle of olive oil, it's really not needed. It doesn't add flavor or help in the browning and it only add cost and calories.
Nabeela November 5, 2015
How long do I bake it for?
PegBee August 8, 2015
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!"
Claudia July 31, 2015
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.
jcasare April 19, 2015
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.
robin L. November 23, 2014
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?
Kristen M. November 24, 2014
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.
joann November 6, 2014
Made this for a party, and it was a huge hit... delicious1
peg D. September 10, 2014
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.
SpaCook September 10, 2014
Peg, how long did you bake and how much rice did you use? Would love to try this iteration!
peg D. September 11, 2014
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!
Mary E. August 17, 2014
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!
Nagi August 17, 2014
About 25 - 30 minutes. Cover it for the first 15 minutes, then remove cover. Otherwise the top gets too brown.
Lori F. August 16, 2014
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!
zeldie April 7, 2014
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.
Andreas D. April 7, 2014
Totally different dish. The original recipe is for a classic tian, yours isn't.
Megan August 19, 2013
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!
Andreas D. August 12, 2013
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.
Nagi August 14, 2014
Do you still use the same quantity of liquid?
Susan L. January 17, 2019
I agree that there is no reason to salt the zucchini or parboil the rice. If it seems a bit dry because the rice absorbs more liquid-add a touch more water or milk.