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+ servings

Zucchini Romano Casserole

A delicious variation on Eggplant Parmigiana.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Approximate time to fry the zucchini rounds:30 mins
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian-American
Servings: 8

Equipment

  • A large, wide skillet (or electric skillet) for frying the zucchini rounds
  • A greased 9x12 (or similar-sized) baking dish

Ingredients

For the tomato sauce:

  • 32 ounces plain, good-quality tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 large, fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

For the zucchini:

  • 2 pounds zucchini (4-5 medium size zucchini), cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • Salt and pepper -- a sprinkling of each
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs or 5 large eggs
  • Oil for frying

For assembling the casserole:

  • 1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Optional for garnish:

  • Small sprigs of fresh basil

Instructions

Making the tomato sauce:

  • Pour the tomato sauce into a medium sauce pan set over low heat. Whisk in the garlic powder, onion powder, and torn basil leaves. Bring just to a simmer, and then remove the pan from the heat.

Preparing the zucchini:

  • Arrange the zucchini rounds in a single layer on paper towel-lined baking sheets (you will probably need 2 baking sheets), and lightly sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Let the zucchini rest until it just begins to exude some of its liquid -- about 15 minutes. Blot the wet tops of the rounds with a paper towel.

Breading and frying the zucchini:

  • In a large, wide skillet, heat 1/2-inch of oil to 350°F. Pour the flour into a shallow dish or pie plate, and beat the eggs in a shallow bowl (or pie plate).  Working in batches, dip the zucchini into the flour. Shake off excess flour, and then coat the zucchini in the beaten egg. Fry the zucchini in the hot oil until golden brown -- 2-3 minutes minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Assembling the casserole:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the bottom of the prepared baking dish with a thin layer of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the sauce with a handful of the Pecorino Romano cheese. Arrange a single layer of zucchini rounds in the baking dish, topping it with a handful each of the Pecorino and mozzarella cheeses. Spoon dollops of tomato sauce over the cheeses. Add two more layers of zucchini, topping each layer with the cheeses and then the tomato sauce. Finish with a sprinkling of Pecorino Romano.

Baking the casserole:

  • Tightly cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil, and continue baking for 10 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Notes

NOTE: This casserole only improves in flavor and texture after it has been baked, cooled completely, and refrigerated (covered) overnight. It is the ultimate make-ahead dish!