Mangia, MangiaPosted: September 21, 2011
So, last week I was on vacation. (Yeah! Which also explains why I haven’t posted in a while.) My friends and I rented a house by a pond in the mountains of New Hampshire. It was eight days of relaxing and eating … and eating. One day we stumbled upon a little roadside farm stand not far from the house. And inside it we found this giant zucchini. More than 15 inches long! It was so big and ridiculous, we just had to buy it.
But then … it just sat on the counter for the rest of vacation. I think we were all afraid of it. Would it be good to eat? Would it be too tough? Is it just some abnormal veggie for us to take photos of and compare in size to the 11 month old baby that was with us?? When we packed up to leave, my friends all decided that I should take it and try to make it into … something. I wasn’t quite sure. My summer adventure with zucchini had led me to zucchini bread and zucchini corn fritters, even a zucchini and potato tortilla. What else could I do? But then I remember someone telling me about zucchini parmigiana they had. Aha! I could whip up a nice sauce to go with it and have a weeknight Italian feast. So that’s what I did.
However, once I cut open that bad boy I discovered that more than half of it was filled with big, pumpkin-like seeds. No way were those edible. Luckily, the top portion of the zucchini was seedless. So that’s the part I cut into slices, breaded, fried, covered with sauce and cheese and baked ’til golden and bubbly. And even though I doubt everyone will have a giant zucchini for this meal, I’m pretty sure normal-sized ones would work just as well.
For the zucchini:
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten
– Olive oil
– Mozzarella, shredded
– Marinara sauce (my recipe below)
– Baking dish
For the sauce:
– 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
– ½ of a white onion, diced
– Minced garlic
– Tomato paste
– Red wine
– Italian spice mix
– Salt and pepper
– Olive oil
Heat your oven to 400º.
Slice the zucchini into ¼ or 1/8 inch thick pieces, but the thinner the better. Put breadcrumbs and the beaten eggs into two separate shallow bowls. Heat a little bit of oil in a large skillet on medium-low heat. Dip the zucchini in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs, shake off the excess and place into the hot skillet. Fry the zucchini until golden brown on both sides. Place on a plate and continue until all the zucchini slices are fried.
Add 3 spoonfuls of sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Place a layer of fried zucchini in the dish and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Continue layering the zucchini until the dish is full. On the final layer (I had 3), add sauce on top of each piece of zucchini and more mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Let cool slightly and serve with spaghetti and additional sauce.
Here’s how to make my go-to red sauce. Why buy the stuff in a jar when you can make it yourself in no time?
In a medium-sized pot, heat some oil on medium-low. Add the diced onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add a large tablespoon of minced garlic and let cook another minute or so. Add the can of crushed tomatoes, 1 or 2 teaspoons of tomato paste and season with Italian spices and salt and pepper. I like to add a splash of red wine if I have it in the house. This night I had a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, so that’s what I used. Give it a good stir and let the sauce come to a slow boil and then simmer for another 10 minutes or so. You can leave it covered on low heat until you’re ready to eat it.