Do you remember when I really
didn’t like zucchini? How I didn’t like it in any shape or form ever. I tried to develop a taste for it, but it never really did anything for me. Until I went to Italy this summer. The Italians really know how to cook! Bet you didn’t know that. And they definitely know how to cook zucchini: it always ended up fresh, light and clean. Exactly how zucchini should be.
I ended up completely making a 180 about zucchini. I started putting it in everything! Pastas, pizzas, salads, as a side – I used zucchini in everything that I did not like zucchini in before. This was a summer of transformation for me. I like to call it the summer of zucchini love.
One of my favorite dishes that I had in Italy was a zucchini parmesan. It was absolutely delicious and totally unlike any parmesan dishes I had before. The zucchini was lightly sauteed, not fried, and just sprinkled with breadcrumbs and the best fresh cheese ever (the Italians make good cheese too!). It was all brought together by this thick tomato sauce that was out of this world. I tried to recreate it, and it was quite tasty. But I’d advise you to take a trip to Italy so you can try the original version. And then you can experience your own zucchini love.
Zucchini Parmesan (slightly adapted from here
2 lbs. zucchini
salt and pepper
2 cups basic tomato sauce
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
3/4 cup breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
Preheat oven to 450. Oil two baking sheets with olive oil. Slice the zucchini about 1/2 inch thick and place onto prepared baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until the slices turn golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350. In a casserole dish, spoon 1/4 cup tomato sauce. Layer the zucchini on top. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the basil leaves, 1/4 of the parmesan, slices of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs. Keep covering by layering until all of the ingredients have been used. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Let cool slightly and serve.