This is a classic Italian dish, popular at the height of summer when kitchen gardens are producing buckets of zucchini every day. I love this recipe because it uses LOTS of zucchini, but completely disguises it in a healthy way. My father-in-law hated green vegetables even more than most little children. I served this to him on a whim, and he took seconds! It does take awhile to prepare, but reheats beautifully.
1 large onion, minced
6 lbs zucchini, or a combination of zucchini & yellow crooked-neck squash
1 medium carrot, grated
1 teaspoon dried basil, or a few stems of fresh basil
1 Tablespoon chopped dried parsley, or a few stems of fresh parsley
1 teaspoon of seasoned salt, or 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 Tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional, since that makes this a dairy dish)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup of fine, dry breadcrumbs
No nutrition information available
Use a VERY large pot. I prefer a stockpot that holds 8 quarts. I also use my Cuisinart for this dish – it makes the preparation much easier.
Mince the onion in the Cuisinart. Saute the minced onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil until transparent. Set the burner to low temperature.
Don’t bother to rinse out the onion pieces from the Cuisinart bowl. Wash & trim the zucchini and/or squash. If necessary, cut it in half lengthwise so it will fit nicely in the food tube. Use the thickest slicing blade. Dump the sliced zucchini into the pot whenever the Cuisinart bowl gets too full. It may take 4 or 5 loads before you’ve filled the pot. Again, don’t worry about getting the last bits of zucchini out.
Change blades to shredding and grate the carrot. Add the grated carrot to the zucchini in the pot. If using fresh herbs, switch to the chopping blade and pulse a few times to chop the parsley & basil. Add the herbs with seasoned salt or salt & pepper to the pot.
Cover and cook at simmer temperature for at least 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the lid and stir. The veggies should have cooked down into a colorful mush. If you can still identify pieces of zucchini, put the lid back on and cook another 20 minutes.
Uncover the pot, turn the temperature to high, and attempt to evaporate as much remaining liquid as possible without burning the mush. This will require stirring the pot from time to time over a period of about 15 minutes.
Grease a 2-quart ovenproof dish (Pan spray works fine). I use a large soufflé dish. Dust the inside with dried breadcrumbs. Japanese Panko crumbs (run through the food processor to make them smaller) work beautifully. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
If you are using cheese, add it to the zucchini mixture now. I tend to be very generous with the cheese – a 1/2 cup isn’t too much as far as I’m concerned. If using fresh cheese, be certain it’s well-grated. The hot mixture will cook it, so if you use big pieces, the mixture will become gummy.