As I strolled into my kitchen with yet another armful of zucchini from our garden, I seriously thought of hiding them so I wouldn’t have to deal with them, but my conscience got the better of me and I tossed them into the sink for a quick wash. I decided quickly that I wanted to make a simple side dish to go along with our grilled veal that evening, but didn’t want to fuss as it was simply too warm. I sliced my zucchini into rounds, tossed them into a large bowl with a few ingredients, poured everything into a casserole dish, and then popped the zucchini into the oven. Ten minutes before the zucchini were finished cooking, I sprinkled them with some cheesy homemade breadcrumbs (see below), and then baked the dish until it was golden brown and crispy. Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of my favorite zucchini recipes I have made in years, and I have made a lot of them! Really this dish epitomizes the simplicity of Italian cuisine and why it tastes so good. Just mix together some fresh from the garden vegetables, a few seasonings and you have a perfect side dish.
You can use the usual green zucchini, or a mix of yellow and green zucchini. Although I do like to use canned poodorini (cherry tomatoes) they are difficult to find in North America so I use canned diced tomatoes instead which works just as well. The cooking time may vary depending on how fresh your squash is. When I use fresh picked zucchini from the garden, it usually takes a good forty-five minutes to cook them while older zucchini from the grocery store may become fork tender after thirty minutes of baking.
Deborah Mele 2018
- 4 to 5 Medium Zucchini, Washed & Dried
- 1 (14 Ounce) Can Pomodorini (Cherry) Tomatoes or 1 Can Crushed Or Diced Tomatoes
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Basil
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Italian Seasonings
- 2 Finely Minced Garlic Cloves
- Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
- Dash of Red Chile Flakes (Optional)
- 1 1/2 Cups Small Stale Country Bread Cubes
- 1/2 Cup Grated Pecorino Cheese
- Zest from 1/2 Lemon
- 1/2 Red Chile Pepper, Chopped (Optional)
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove top and tail from zucchini and slice into thin rounds.
- Place into a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients excluding the breadcrumb topping ingredients and mix well with your hands.
- Pour the zucchini mixture into an oven-proof casserole dish large enough to hold everything, cover, and bake for about 45 minutes or until the zucchini are fork tender.
- While the zucchini are baking, place the bread cubes in a food processor and pulse until they become coarse crumbs.
- Add the chile pepper, lemon, cheese, salt and pepper and pulse until well mixed but still coarse.
- Add the parsley and olive oil and pulse once more just until the parsley is chopped.
- Uncover the zucchini and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.
- Return the casserole to the oven without a cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the top is crisp and brown.
- Serve immediately or at room temperature.