Following inspiration from Tracy at Sugar Crafter, all I could think about for days was scouring the farmer’s market for the plumpest, purplest specimen of eggplant that I could find. When Saturday rolled along and the end of Husband’s and my weekly half an hour spent among sweaty vendors and fresh produce was closing, I realized I still had no eggplant to my name. Scanning with eagle eyes I found a humble table brimming with zucchini and a few stray eggplants. Mr. Vendor let me know the price of my darling eggplant, at which I immediately swallowed hard. “The zuccchini?” Now, that price was splendid. Less than 25 cents, in fact, for my US readers. The deal of a century for what I suspect was a zucchini weighing over 2 kilos.
The results of this purchase also positively added to energy savings in my meal prep. Instead of oven-roasting eggplant to soften it with the lovely tomato sauce that accompanies any eggplant parmesan worth mentioning, I made my zucchini parm stovetop in under 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes of utter anticipation, let me tell you. I’d been craving this meal for DAYS. It didn’t disappoint. In fact, I found myself “conserving” my zucchini use throughout the week in order to make this dish time and time again for a total of 4 meals. The sauce and preparation varied a little depending on my self-control regarding cheese and butter useage and energy for chopping additional onions, peppers, or other veggies to toss into the sauce. Below, I’ll share my 1st and most scrumptious un-recipe. I hope enjoy it even a smidgen as much as I did.
Zucchini Parmesan with Buttery Pasta
* I like my tomato sauce on the “natural” side. If you are used to jarred, add some sugar.
6 Roma or other small tomatoes, or perhaps 3 large
4 cloves garlic
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1/4 c. water or red wine
pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs tossed with: s&p, 2T. Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
1T. butter, sliced into a couple of pieces
1/4 c. or more mozzerella or other favorite melting cheese
- Chop tomatoes into small pieces and add to a small saucepan over medium heat. Likewise, mince garlic and add to the pan along with water and spices. Bring to a boil, squish tomatoes and stir and reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes while you prepare the zucchini slices.
- Place a medium to large skillet over medium heat. (It’s best if the skillet can accommodate all the zucchini slices at once).
- In a small bowl, combine panko with seasonings. Slice zucchini into rounds approximately 1/4″ thick. Slice mozzarella into as many pieces as you have zucchini, or just have grated cheese handy.
- Add all the butter to the skillet if it is to brown all zucchini at once. Otherwise, use as much as you need in order that you’ll be able to divide it between each batch.
- Firmly press both sides of zucchini slices into panko mixture and add to hot pan. Continue with all slices.
- Cook 5-7 minutes, or until panko browns. Flip rounds and brown the other side. Top with melty cheese. Turn off heat to tomato sauce and have your serving plates ready.
- Add cheesy zucchini rounds to the plates and top with tomato sauce. Add more grated Parmesan cheese on top as you please. Dig in and be careful to to burn yourself in your excitement. I may or may not know this from experience 🙂 Serve alongside buttery pasta, if desired.
This is the simplest recipe I have ever made…besides pb&j and honestly the flavor is 5-star delish. Trust me.
enough pasta of your preferred shape to feed 2 people
2T. REAL butter
Cook pasta al dente in salted water and drain, reserving about 1/4 c. cooking liquid. Return pasta and water to pan over medium-low heat and stir in butter, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Serve alongside zucchini parm.