I was scrolling through Instagram on Sunday morning and I stopped when I saw a picture of a zucchini bake with mozzarella. Whoa, I thought to myself. This is happening.
The picture didn’t come with a recipe, so I decided to improvise. I got two zucchini, some basil and fresh mozzarella from the farmers’ market, and then I bought a can of tomatoes at the grocery store. I’d usually make my own sauce, but I’m all about the San Marzano tomatoes. They make a mean sauce.
The best part about this dish is that it comes together in one skillet. I fried some shallots with garlic and olive oil, added the sauce and some herbs, and then layered the zucchini and mozzarella on top. Pop it in the oven, wait until the cheese gets golden brown and bubbly, and you have dinner.
I would highly recommend serving this with baguette. Rice would be good, too, but I like the way the bread mops up the sauce.
When I was eating this, I realized that it tasted vaguely familiar. Then I realized that my mom used to make something similar all the time when I was younger. I guess I had the recipe in the back of my mind all along.
Here’s a song for zucchini baking. Or, you know, whenever.
Zucchini Bake with Mozzarella (from me, to you)
2 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 small shallot, minced
4 small cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 28 oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 ball fresh mozzarella, ripped into shreds (there’s no other good way to put this)
sliced basil leaves for topping
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the minced shallot and garlic and fry until golden brown. Add the tomatoes and spices, and give it a stir.
Let the sauce come to a simmer and then turn down the heat so the mixture is just barely bubbling. Keep an eye on things so the mixture doesn’t explode (whoops).
Carefully add the zucchini on top of the sauce, forming one wreath around the outside of the skillet and another toward the middle. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella.
Stick the skillet in the oven and let the mixture bake until the mozzarella cheese is brown and bubbling. Take it out of the oven and let it sit for a minute before topping with the sliced basil leaves. Sprinkle with more black pepper for serving. Enjoy!