Lovely lasagne-type dish but with zucchini playing the role of the pasta. Can also be made with aubergine (melanzana). This dish can be prepared well ahead of time and then assembled and finished in the oven to make a delicious dinner!
Makes: 4 portions
Cooking: 30mins + 30mins
1 sm. clove
Good olive oil
|2 maybe 3
Pecorino or parmesan
This dish can be made in several stages, a considerable time in advance. I will describe frying the egged and floured zucchini first, as this is the messiest stage, followed by making the sugo and then finally assembling the dish. You can of course make the sugo in parallel with frying the zucchini if you run a well organised kitchen!
As you need to slice the zucchini thinly lengthwise, life becomes much easier if you can use some sort of mandolin. Failing that you’ll need a large chef’s knife and a steady hand. Slice the zucchini thinly (2-3mm), discarding the outer slice or two, and pat dry using some kitchen paper. You need to be organised for the frying stage. Assuming you’re right handed (apologies to any citeogs!), set up the following assembly line from right to left: plate containing zucchini; plate with lightly beaten eggs; plate next to stove with seasoned flour; large frying pan containing sunflower oil to allow a certain degree of deep-frying; and a plate with kitchen paper to receive the fried zucchini.
Proceed as follows. First dip the zucchini slice in the egg, then lightly in the flour and place in the pan. Repeat until the pan is comfortably full but not crowded. Turn each slice once and transfer to the plate with the kitchen paper when golden. Repeat until all zucchini is used up. You may need to change the oil during the process. If you’re really adventurous, you can have two pans on the go!
For the sugo, chop the onion finely and fry over a medium heat in a little olive oil in a medium saucepan. Crush the garlic clove and add to the onion. Chop the tomatoes and remove the seeds. When the onion is soft, add the tomatoes, passata and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Depending on the sweetness of your tomatoes, you may want to add a teaspoon of sugar. Once the mixture has come to the boil, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes or so to let the flavours integrate.
When you’re ready to make dinner, preheat the oven to 180°C, grate the cheeses and mix together. Smear a little olive oil around the inside of an ovenproof shallow dish. Spread a small amount of the sugo on the bottom. Next lay out a layer of zucchini. Cover this with sugo and then a little cheese. Place another layer of zucchini running perpindicular to the first and again cover with sugo and cheese. Repeat until the zucchini used up. Finish with a thin layer of sugo and cheese. Place in the oven and bake until the cheese is starting to turn golden, about 25 minutes.