You all know the more famous Eggplant Parmigiana. This version uses zucchini, layered with mozzarella, ricotta and parmigiano in a tomato sauce, for an equally delighful, light and complete vegetarian meal.
You might be wondering why I am cooking more and baking less. I mean, I am producing more savory recipes than sweet...what's happening? Well, a girl's gotta eat 🙂 .
I've always loved baking more than cooking, and I think it's awesome that Loreto and I are complimentary in this way: in our foodblog he is the savory chef and I'm the baker, most of the times. In our kitchen we run a smooth routine: when preparing our lunch or dinner I usually prep everything for him, like a sous-chef, and saves him a discreet amount of time and fuss. Plus we so enjoy sharing the small kitchen, working in tandem and having fun in the making. And the clean up is shared, too. Which is formidable. I bake mostly in the morning, when Loreto is at work, so I get to do everything myself, but when I bake on the weekends I so much appreciate his prepping all the ingredients for me and I count on his knowledge and creativity. This is our normal life when I'm in Canada. The months that I'm in Italy and away from him, though, are hard on so many levels, one being that I have to cook, and bake (and clean-up) all by myself. I spend the weekends at my parents's, which you think would relieve some of my stress, but lately they're asking me to cook and bake for them, too. Which, seen on the brighter side, means that they really enjoy my food.
My mother is allergic to eggplant, so Parmigiana di Zucchine is a dish that we've done many times during the years to replace the more common Eggplant Parmigiana that she cannot eat, and it has always been a success. I love it and I started thinking about making one for myself, one day at work, trying to figure out what to make for my lonely weeknight supper and that would also be good the day after, to bring to work. I had all the necessary ingredients: organic zucchini, cow ricotta, mozzarella and parmigiano that I bought at Eataly (which when I'm in Rome, is the main provider to my fridge and pantry); while the jarred tomatoes are the ones my parents make in the summer and they are our supply during the winter. Preparing the Parmigiana di Zucchine is not extremely time consuming, the longest part is to fry (or grill for a healthier version) the zucchini slices. The tomato sauce is my basic, super tasty "sugo" (tomato purée, garlic, basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper) and it needs to cook only 10-15 minutes, but you can also make it the day before and store it in the fridge, I sometimes do that. Assembling the Parmigiana is pretty easy: you start by spreading some tomato sauce at the bottom of a rectangular baking dish, add a layer of zucchini slices, crumble some ricotta and mozzarella on top, grate some parmigiano and cover with another ladle of tomato sauce. Repeat until you've finished all the ingredients. The last layer is tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmigiano, just to give that nice bubbly cheesy crust when it's baked. I usually lay the zucchini slices one way and then the other way in the next layer, in a lattice design that helps keep everything in place (we do the same for the lasagna).
It smells so good while it's in the oven. I would check it once in a while, since the baking time may vary from oven to oven and according to how many layers you've done. It could take less or longer. I usually know it's ready when the top is bubbling nicely and it's turning a beautiful golden color. I suggest not to cover it with foil paper. The zucchini (combined with the ricotta and mozzarella) release already a good quantity of liquid, you do not want to end up with a soupy "mess". Draining the mozzarella and making a thicker sauce helps a bit, but anyway, there might be some liquid at the bottom of the dish. Letting it rest before cutting it and digging into, this is a good strategy. It gets firmer with the passing of time. The day after it's excellent! Warmed it up in the oven, the next day, turned my sad lunch at work into a mouthwatering experience (also for my coworkers that gathered by the toaster oven, summoned by the delicious whiff).
The zucchini, nice soft and a bit smoky from the charred bits; the ricotta and mozzarella, so rich and creamy, melding the flavors of the zucchini and the tomato sauce; sweet hints from the garlic and fresh basil, and the topping a crispy gooey golden brown melted mozzarella and parmigiano, making this dish heavenly and leaving you wanting seconds. Whenever we have Parmigiana, Loreto is usually scraping the sides of the dish trying to get every last bit :-).
Hope you enjoy this Parmigiana di Zucchine (Zucchini Parmigiana) as much as I did. It is a fresh, light and tasty main course, ideal for a vegetarian or for your meatless meals.
Song of the day: "When We Were Young" by the wonderful Adele.Print
Zucchini Parmigiana is a very tasty and well balanced main dish, thanks to the properties of the vegetables and the proteins of the cheese.
- 500 g zucchini, washed and sliced lengthwise
- 150 g tomato puréed
- 1 small clove garlic
- 2 basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 100 g mozzarella, drained and cut in cubes
- 50 g ricotta
- 50 g parmigiano reggiano, grated
- extra virgin olive oil, for frying and for the tomato sauce
- Wash and thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and fry the sliced zucchini in batches until golden and tender. Drain on paper towel. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini slices.
- Let the mozzarella drain in a colander for a few minutes, then cut into cubes.
- In the meantime, heat 1 Tbsp olive olive in a pan and sautée the garlic. Add the tomato purée, basil and adjust with salt and pepper. Cook the tomato sauce for about 10-15 minutes.
- Spread 1 ladle of tomato sauce at the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Add a layer of zucchini slices, mozzarella, grated parmigiano and ricotta flakes. Repeat layers: tomato sauce, zucchini slices, mozzarella, parmigiano and ricotta.
- Finish with a layer of tomato, mozzarella and parmigiano.
- Bake in a 190°C oven for 20-25 minutes or until you see the melted mozzarella and the top is golden and crisp.
- Take out of oven and let rest for a few minutes just to let it set, before serving.
- Serving Size: 2 servings
Ricetta in Italiano:Print
- 500 g di zucchine (circa 3-4 medie)
- 150 g di polpa di pomodoro
- 1 spicchio d'aglio, piccolo
- 2 foglie di basilico
- Sale e pepe q.b.
- 100 g di mozzarella
- 50 g di parmigiano reggiano grattugiato
- 50 g ricotta di mucca, opzionale
- Olio extravergine d'oliva q.b.
- Lavate le zucchine sotto l’acqua corrente, eliminate le estremità e tagliatele per lungo, in modo da creare tante sfoglie.
- Fatele friggere in una padella con un po' di olio evo. Quando diventano dorate, mettetele in un piatto rivestito con carta assorbente per liberarle dell'olio in eccesso e salatele.
- Nel frattempo mettete sul fuoco moderato un pentolino con un po' di olio evo, fate soffriggere l'aglio, aggiungete la polpa di pomodoro, aggiustate di sale e pepe, unite il basilico e lasciatela cuocere a fiamma bassa per una decina di minuti.
- Fate sgocciolare la mozzarella dal liquido di conservazione e tagliatela a cubetti.
- Mettete uno strato di sugo di pomodoro sul fondo di una pirofila, fate uno strato di zucchine e completate con la mozzarella, una spolverata di parmigiano e qualche ciuffetto di ricotta.
- Proseguite in quest’ordine, alternando il verso delle zucchine, sino al completamento degli ingredienti. Finite con un ultimo strato di pomodoro, mozzarella e parmigiano.
- Infornate a 190°C per circa 20-25 minuti, o fino a quando la mozzarella sarà sciolta e si sarà formata l’invitante crosticina sulla superficie.
- Estraete la parmigiana dal forno, lasciatela riposare qualche minuto per far ritirare un po' di liquido che le zucchine inevitabilmente formeranno e poi servitela in tavola.
La parmigiana di zucchine è un piatto unico molto gustoso ed equilibrato grazie alle proprietà delle verdure e le proteine del formaggio. Ottima alternativa vegetariana.
- Serving Size: 2 porzioni