Think of this as an Italian ratatouille. Or a vegetable lasagna, without the noodles. However you slice it I think you’re going to like it. Strips of fresh roasted vegetables layered with herbs that results in a fantastic main course or side dish. Make this recipe with feta, chopped olives and red onion to create a more Mediterranean flavor. So versatile and easy. This is now a staple in our house.
3 T. olive oil, plus more for greasing and brushing
3 medium zucchini (1 1/2 pounds), sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
2 eggplants (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/3 inch thick
salt and pepper
1/2-3/4 cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 freshly grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup panko or coarse dry bread crumbs (can make with gluten free bread crumbs)
Preheat the oven to 425.
1. Oil 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Put the zucchini slices on one sheet and the eggplant on the other. Brush the slices all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the slices on each sheet in a slightly overlapping layer. Bake for 15 minutes, until tender.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, 3 minutes. Add garlic and sautee for another minute or so. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until slightly softened and bubbling, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Oil a large, shallow baking dish. Lay half of the eggplant in the dish and spread one-fourth of the tomatoes on top. Scatter with half of the pecorino romano, basil and a small handful of breadcrumbs.
4. Layer half of the zucchini on top, followed by another one-fourth of the tomato and the remaining basil, parsley, eggplant and zucchini.
5. Top with the remaining tomato, pecorino romano and any leftover herbs. Sprinkle about one tablespoon over the casserole. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes, until bubbling and crisp. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve hot or warm.