Zummery Zucchini Parmesan Gratin

Posted by Ellie Warmoth on

Normally a Parmesan Gratin will be made with Eggplant, but at my house the Zucchini outperform Eggplant, so I look for places to use it.  A Parmesan Gratin makes this veggie shine.  One bite is summer at it’s finest.  I use a sheet pan in the over here, but you can grill the slices and add that nice smokey flavor to yours.  I like using the oven method as it shaves a bit of time off a rather time-consuming dish.  I promise this is worth all the effort.  Add a loaf of crust bread and you will be transported to the Warmoth House.  The cheese makes it rich and gooey and the zucchini with the tomato sauce melts in your mouth.  Zucchini makes summer Zummery!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Small Onion Chopped Fine
  • 4 Large Garlic Cloves Chopped Fine (or grated on fine grater)
  • 4 TBLS Olive Oil
  • One 28 ounce can of Italian Pomodoro Tomatoes (I like Cento)
  • 15 Fresh Basil leaves Thinly sliced
  • 1 TSP Good Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 to 4 Pounds Zucchini
  • 4 TBLS Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/8th Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 cups Shaved (Imported) Italian Parmesan Cheese plus more for serving

 

PREPARATION

Heat Olive oil in heavy pan over Medium Low heat.  When hot, add the onions and stir till soft.  Add garlic and stir for at least 2 minutes to soften it.  It’s ok if the onions brown a little, but no matter what don’t brown the garlic.   (Browning it can make it bitter.)  Put tomatoes in blender or food processor and blend till saucy.  Add to onions and garlic.  Add the basil leaves, the Balsamic then Salt and Pepper to taste.  Simmer over Medium Low for about 20 minutes or it starts to be a bit thicker.  Turn off heat and allow to cool a bit.

Meanwhile heat oven to 450.  Lightly coat two cookie sheet pans with olive oil.  Some recipes call for putting parchment on the cookie sheets but I find this causes them to steam and you want browned bits.

Slice the zucchini ¼ inch thick slices (lengthwise).  I have done them thicker and thinner and have found this is the best thickness.  (Thinner pieces will disintegrate when you try to turn them!)  You could do crosswise slices but that’s lots more pieces to turn when you want to brown the other sides!!  Put slices into a bowl with the rest of the Olive Oil that has been mixed with salt and pepper and pepper flakes and mix to be sure they are coated on both sides evenly.  If they seem to need a bit more oil that is fine.  Lay out the slices on the cookie sheets and put in oven. 

Check in about 5 to 10 minutes (all ovens are different) and if they are starting to brown flip them.  Pull out as they are browned on both sides.  When done reduce oven to 350.

Using a potato peeler shave the Parmesan and set aside.

Oil coat the inside of a nice casserole with high sides (9 x 12).  Spread about ½ cup or so of the sauce on the bottom of the casserole.  Lay 1/3 of the zucchini slices on the sauce.  Top with 1/3 of the leftover sauce and 2/3 cup of cheese sprinkled evenly over the sauce.  Then repeat 2 more times ending with the cheese.

Put casserole in the oven and cook for 35 to 45 minutes or until it is bubbling up in the center.  Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Serve with more cheese on top and toasted baguette slices that have been rubbed with clove of garlic and brushed with olive oil.

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