Saturday, July 10, 2010
Get out your cast iron pan! Of course it's fine to make this simple layered dish in anything that's oven-safe, but I think it crisps up really nicely in cast iron. The sheets of pasta in this recipe are actually thin slices of zucchini! File this one away for when the harvest brings in a major zuke bonanza...this is just a small version using two little ones but I bet you could make a big one for a potluck or something that would use up a whole bunch. Slice your zucchini very thinly using a mandoline slicer (or just a steady hand and a sharp knife is fine too). If you are rich in time, you can saute the zuke slices in a little olive oil and garlic for good flavor, or just be lazy and don't bother. Like me! For the first layer, drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil and add several dots of butter to the bottom of a cast iron skillet, then cover with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. I happened to have a meat sauce made already so I used that, which of course makes for a heartier dish. But if you're a veggie or just only have tomato sauce--go ahead and use it! You'll need one cup total (for 2 layers) so it's actually a great way to use up leftovers from the fridge. Lay out half your zucchini slices over the sauce... Then 1/2 cup cooked small pasta. I had orzo hanging around as leftover, so I used that. You'll need at least 1 cup total, but more is fine too. Just divide however much you have in half to use on each layer. Now dot the top of the pasta layer with chunks of fresh mozzarella and a little shredded provolone (maybe about 1/4 cup). I had one of those large balls of fresh mozzarella--this is half of that, sliced up. And parsley, minced. Add basil too if you have it. My basil plant isn't keeping up with my demand so I'm letting it chill out for now. Layer two! Another 1/2 cup of sauce... You'll need to kind of dot the sauce around, rather than spread it this time. Then the rest of your zucchini slices.And layer on the rest of your pasta, plus the remaining mozzarella slices. A little more grated provolone on top too, just for flavor. And a last sprinkle of minced parsley. Very pretty. Put it in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes. It should be nice and gooey and the zucchini should be quite tender. At the very end of cooking, turn on the broiler for a couple minutes to get the top all browned and irresistible looking.It looks kind of like lasagna, right? Anyway, it's very very yummy.