Squash and Rice Pudding 8.000

(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Jun 19, 2019

This savory rendition of a rice pudding was inspired by a recipe from the early 1900s. The combination of summer squash, fresh basil and oregano, sour cream and heavy cream makes it a rich-tasting, worthy and unusual side for grilled meats and vegetables.

We liked it served cold, too.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 servings

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds yellow squash, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 5 1/2 cups water, or more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups white long-grain rice (uncooked)
  • 2 cups regular or low-fat sour cream (do not use nonfat)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus more for optional garnish
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano, plus more for optional garnish
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, or more as needed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the squash and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender enough to qualify as slightly mushy. Let it cool in the pan; do not drain off its released liquid/juices.

Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the salt and the rice. Once the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for about 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender. (If it isn’t quite done and the pot seems dry, add more water and keep cooking the rice, as needed.)

Transfer the just-cooked rice to a 2-quart casserole dish. Stir in the cooked squash and its juices, then add the sour cream, heavy cream, basil, oregano, the remaining teaspoon of salt and the pepper, folding gently until well incorporated. Cover tightly with aluminum foil; bake (middle rack) for 20 minutes, then uncover and continue to bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or just until some browned spots appear.

Serve warm, with more oregano and basil leaves on top, if desired.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Southern Smoke: Barbecue Traditions and Treasured Recipes Reimagined for Today,” by Matthew Register (Harvard Common Press, 2019).

Tested by Jacob Brogan.

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