By Cat, Sept 16, 2016 (Photo from Wikipedia)
Squash is a very healthful veggie and I’m always looking for a new way to fix them, as I get tired of slicing and sautéing them. This recipe struck me because it is so different from the usual squash recipe. It uses two types of summer squash – zucchini and yellow crookneck – but you could use just about any kind you wish; however, I’ve not yet tried winter squash; you may need to parboil or precook the slices before layering in the baking dish.
Baked Summer Squash, Italian Style
This recipe is adapted from one in our local paper, the Daily Inter Lake, originally by Melissa D’Arabian for the Associated Press.
The original calls for an Italian Herb Seasoning; I like to make my own (see Italian herb blend); or pick and choose which of the herbs you want to use. For the veggies, you can use red or green bell pepper cut into pieces similar in size to the squash slices, for part of the tomato slices (or in addition to). If you have some fresh fennel bulb, garnish the cooked casserole with some of the feathery leaves.
If serving as the main course, consider adding another source of protein besides the cheese, such as cubed or shredded chicken, or serving cooked dried beans on the side.
Ingredients & Equipment
- 1 medium-large zucchini
- 1 medium-large yellow crookneck squash
- 2 large shallots or ½ sweet onion
- 2 ripe tomatoes (such as beefsteak or Roma), or equivalent weight of grape tomatoes
- 5 – 10 cloves garlic, to taste
- 2 tsp dried Italian herb blend
- 1 Tbsp olive oil plus more for baking dish
- juice of ½ lemon
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella or other Italian cheese (Parmigiana, Romano, etc.)
- unrefined sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 8″ ceramic or glass baking dish.
- parchment or waxed paper
- aluminum foil
- Preheat oven to 375°F.U sing olive oil, smear on bottom and sides of baking dish
- Prep: wash and slice squashes, horizontally
- Slice shallots or onion; slice tomatoes crosswise; if large, cut in half (or if using grape tomatoes, slice in half, crosswise). Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Mince garlic and mix with the dried herbs.
- Casserole: Layer squash, tomato and shallot/onion slices in the dish, overlapping them like shingles on a roof and alternating them. Pack them in fairly tightly – they should not lie flat.
- Sprinkle on the garlic/herb mix, then drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and squeeze on the lemon juice. Cover with parchment (or waxed paper) and foil, and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil and parchment, and continue to bake another 15 minutes, then sprinkle cheese on top, and bake another 15 minutes.
- Serve warm or room temperature as a side dish or main course. Accompany with a nice salad of greens with a mediterranean vinaigrette.
- Daily Inter Lake paper (September 14, 2016), originally by Melissa D’Arabian for the Associated Press.