Last updated on July 30th, 2022
I love Zucchini Romano Casserole. Love it, love it, love it. The dish is similar to Eggplant Parmigiana, if you omit both the eggplant and the Parmesan cheese. Zucchini is the star of this Italian-inspired show, and the supporting cast includes Pecorino Romano cheese. I made the casserole three times in the past three weeks, and have worked out all the kinks for you. So please enjoy the following recipe:
I made this casserole for my YouTube channel the other day. Click the play arrow to watch. Then scroll down for step-by-step directions plus the printable recipe.
Ingredients for Zucchini Romano Casserole
Good-quality plain tomato sauce (my favorite is POMI strained tomatoes from Italy)
Fresh basil leaves
Zucchini of medium size — don’t use “baseball bat”-size zucchini for this casserole!
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Making the sauce — Pour the tomato sauce into a medium saucepan set over low heat. Whisk in the garlic powder, onion powder, and roughly-torn basil leaves. When the sauce begins to bubble, turn off the heat.
Preparing the zucchini — Cut the zucchini into 1/4-inch rounds. How many rounds will you need? For my 9×12 baking dish, I used exactly 72 rounds (cut from about 2 pounds of squash) to make 3 layers of zucchini. (Yes, I counted the rounds for you.)
Put the rounds on a paper towel-lined baking sheet, sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper, and then let them rest until they just begin to exude liquid — about 15 minutes. Then blot the zucchini with a paper towel. The goal here is to remove just some of the zucchini’s moisture.
Breading and frying the zucchini — In a large, wide skillet, heat 1/2-inch of oil to 350°F. While the oil is heating, 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 — Lightly grease a 9×12 (or similar size) baking dish. Spread the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of the tomato sauce, and then sprinkle the sauce with a handful of the Pecorino Romano cheese. Arrange a single layer of zucchini rounds in the baking dish, topping the layer 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 with the cheeses and then the tomato sauce. Finish with a sprinkling of the Pecorino Romano cheese.
Baking the casserole — Tightly cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. The casserole’s flavor and texture will only improve after it has been baked, cooled, and refrigerated over night. It is the ultimate make-ahead dish!
Think you’ll give this Zucchini Romano Casserole a go? You can let me know by posting a comment below. I love hearing from you!
Here’s the printable:
Zucchini Romano Casserole
- A large, wide skillet (or electric skillet) for frying the zucchini rounds
- A greased 9x12 (or similar-sized) baking dish
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
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.
Excellent. I didn’t have a fryer so I had to just to it in a pan. A bit pesky but it worked. Thank you so much!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Elizabeth – Glad you enjoyed it!
Susan Iseman says
I’m guessing you can bake on fast high heat instead of frying? Maybe use panko or bread crumbs. With the abundance of Z in the summer, it’s worth a try!
Sandra Payette says
Oh my, you sold me on this recipe, Kevin. I’m making it right now. Thanks ever. xo
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Sandra – I hope the casserole is delicious for you!