Sunday, August 4, 2013

When Life Gives You Zucchini...

You make lots of zucchini dishes!

courtesy of

This summer, I am enjoying the harvest of Costata Romanesco zucchini.  It is a wonderful variety, slightly nutty in flavor with a lovely texture, with beautiful deep green striped ridged skin.  It holds up in flavor and texture, even when the fruits get fairly large.  Although, I do toss the giant boat-sized ones into the ladies of the Big Coop--I think they like zucchini almost as much as I do!

Of course, I did go a little overboard this year.  I started my zucchini from seed, and managed to have five healthy plants.  And then I did the unthinkable.

I planted all five.

I know, I know.  What was I thinking?  I blame it on late spring madness.  So now, in summer, I have oodles of zucchini.  Stir fried, raw with dip, in soup, you name it, I've done it.  I have it grated and frozen for mid-winter, when I shall be pining for it.  And still I have more and more...

One of my more favorite ways to eat it is my version of homemade Zucchini Parmesan, kind of like a layered lasangna but with squash, instead of noodles.  I quite literally had a dream one night, and created this delicious recipe in it.  It's test run was met with rave reviews, so I think it is a keeper.

The Chicken Lady's Zucchini Parmesan

You'll need: a couple medium sized zucchini, sliced very thinly; one pound of ground meat of your choice (I used bison, as I have quite a lot in the freezer); one pint of tomato sauce; one onion, chopped finely; two cloves of garlic, minced; dried Italian Herbs seasoning blend, to taste; salt and pepper, to taste; 1/2 cup or so of shredded mozzarella cheese; 1/4 cup or so of grated or slivered Parmesan cheese.

Slice the zucchini thinly, and place into a colander.  Salt and allow to drain for several hours, to remove some of the liquid from the squash.  Then rinse and pat dry.

Brown the meat and add the onion and garlic, cooking slowly until the vegetables are tender.  Add the Italian seasoning mix, I usually put in about a teaspoon or so, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine spices and set aside to cool slightly.  In a casserole dish, put a little tomato sauce down in the bottom and top with a layer of zucchini.  Top this layer with a layer of browned meat mixture, then a little mozarella cheese.  Continue layering until done, ending with mozarella cheese.

Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until it smells "done".  Remove cover, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and bake about 10 minutes longer until browned and bubbly.  Remove from oven and allow to cool 15 minutes before slicing and serving with fresh bread and a green salad.  It will be a little runny, as the zucchini will continue to release water during the cooking process, but it is a fabulous sauce to mop up with a slice of delicious fresh bread!

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