Yup, another ZUCCHINI recipe. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare this overly abundant summer vegetable. I’ve made it a hundred times but have never thought to do a post about it. I’ve never even written down the recipe until this morning as I put together this post. The ingredients can easily be increased or decreased depending on how many servings you need and the size of the pan. One of the great things about this recipe is that it can be served so many ways. For dinner last night I coated chicken cutlets in egg and panko, fried them in butter until lightly browned and crispy, and then spooned the vegetables over the top. A little extra Parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley and dinner was ready.
I have also served it over polenta, sliced grilled sirloin steaks, slices of toasted cheese bread, and oven roasted potatoes. If you like fennel add some in the first step with the zucchini and onions.
A large shallow pan works best for this recipe. The vegetables cook faster and the large surface area allows more of the veggies to brown as they cook. There is also more cheese crust, my favorite part of the dish. In case you are wondering, the word gratin originally referred to the tasty crust left behind in a pan after baking, which was scraped off and eaten as a bonus for the chef. Now, cooking something au gratin means preparing a dish that is cooked in the oven, like a gratin dauphinois made with potatoes and cream; or combining several cooked ingredients in casserole form. A crust made from breadcrumbs or cheese is what defines the dish as a gratin. A gratin dish is usually oval in shape. My copper pan is technically a tatin pan (round). I bought this treasure at E. Dehillerin in Paris several years ago and it brings back wonderful memories every time I use it. I’ll get around to making a tatin one of these days.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 unpeeled zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into large pieces
- 1 large sweet onion, cut into large pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite size pieces
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with their juice
- ½ cup chicken stock, or more if needed
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Heat olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan. Add zucchini, onion and red bell pepper and saute on medium-high heat until zucchini browns a little bit, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, oregano, basil and parsley. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Mix well and bake in a 375 degree oven until vegetables are very tender and browned, about 20 minutes. Mix ½ cup grated cheese into the vegetables and sprinkle ¾ cup cheese on top. Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
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