Imagine layers of fresh summer vegetables drizzled with olive oil, topped with a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese and baked till tender and oh, so flavorful--are you hungry yet? I know I am! This simple but absolutely fantastic and beautiful vegetable concoction may just be my new favorite dish!
I really love vegetables and I really love that everyone else in my house really loves them now too because I get to try out all sorts of things I would only have gazed wistfully at a few short years ago, or served to angry sulking children! Now, when I serve a completely vegetarian meal, my husband and I smile at each other smugly and give ourselves a pat on the back for raising such well-balanced children, at least in the eating department--hey, we'll take whatever we can get!
This casserole comes together easily and is kind of fun to make because of the layers. You start with the potatoes--
Next comes a portion of the yellow pepper, onion and garlic mixture--
Followed by the tomatoes--
And finally the zucchini.
Now you add the rest of the yellow pepper mixture and then the entire thing gets sprinkled with grated Parmesan and baked for about 1 hour.
Every bite is full of so many different textures and flavors--there's the earthy comfort of the potatoes, the sweetness of the onions, garlic and yellow pepper, the slight tang and explosiveness of the cooked tomatoes, the tender mellowness of the zucchini with everything enhanced by the salty richness of the melted Parmesan. I made this as a side with my Easy Baked Chicken Breasts but next time I think I'll make it as a wonderful vegetarian main dish that I know everyone in my house will be happy to gobble up!
Make this soon while all the summer veggies are at their peak!
Layered Summer Vegetable Casserole
Makes 4 generous servings
Prep Time: 20-25 minutes; Bake Time: 1 hour
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling between the vegetable layers
1/2 pound Yukon Gold or any small potato variety you like, sliced about 1/4 inch think
Salt and black pepper
1 yellow pepper, seeded and thinly sliced (you could also use red or orange here too)
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
5-6 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 medium zucchini, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
3-4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place a small amount of oil in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish, just to coat. Spread the potatoes in the dish in an even layer and drizzle a bit of olive oil over them. Season with some salt and pepper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the yellow pepper, onion, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Remove about 2/3 of the mixture and place it on top of the potato layer in the casserole. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Top with the tomatoes in an even layer and then the zucchini. Drizzle a bit more oil over the top and season with a bit more salt and pepper. Now add on the remaining yellow pepper mixture and sprinkle the entire thing with the parmesan cheese.
3. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and cook for 40 minutes. Increase the oven to 425ºF and remove the foil. Bake for about 20 minutes more, until all the vegetables are tender and the cheese is golden brown and crusty.
4. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes and serve.
5. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheated in the microwave or in a 350ºF oven for 10-12 minutes.
Note: Recipe adapted from a 2010 issue of Food & Wine Magazine. I tinkered with the spices a bit and you should feel free to change up the vegetables too.