Back when we lived in lovely Blue Jay on the Ohio/Indiana border, I spent my whole summer trying to make good use of all the tomatoes and zucchini my husband planted and harvested. In 1995, I found a recipe in the newspaper that used a lot of zucchini, tomatoes and basil to make a big 9×13 pan of Mediterranean Zucchini Casserole. I have a note in my recipe binder, “Large amount, but David and I ate 3/4 of it for supper along with hot rolls and a tossed salad. Excellent. We both liked this.”
Now that I’m alone, I cut the recipe down to fit a 9″ pan and still ate on it for three days. It was delicious each day. The good part about this dish is that there is not a lot going on to interfere with the fresh flavors of the vegetables and basil and the baking time allows the vegetables to be at their tender best. I only make this casserole in the summer when I can use good farm market vegetables and my own fresh basil.
MEDITERRANEAN ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE
1/2 lb. lean ground beef (I use Laura’s Lean 4% fat beef)
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
Grind or two of black pepper
3 slices of sturdy bread (I use homemade Italian bread)
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 Tblsp. olive oil
1-1/2 medium zucchini cut into 1/4″ thick slices (3 cups)
2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Saute the ground beef, onion and garlic until beef is done and onion is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Tear bread into chunks and put into food processor with basil leaves. Process until crumbs are fine.
Oil bottom of 9″ baking pan. Arrange half of zucchini in the bottom of the pan, spread half of cooked meat/onions/garlic over the zucchini. Top with half of tomato slices.
Sprinkle half of the bread cumb mixture over the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Repeat with layers of zucchini, tomato, crumbs and olive oil.
Bake @ 350 degrees F for one hour.
Sit down and enjoy the flavors of summer!