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Benvenuti al Tutti!

Welcome to Luigi's Tastes of Italy

This blog is my small dedication to Italian cooking, and is abolutely 100% free of pretentiousness, complicated ingredients, or any effort to present Italian cuisine as anything other than it really is, very simple.

Hope you enjoy reading my posts and maybe trying out some of the recipes.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Parmigiana Di Zucchini

I am most defnitely a hypocrite, I often talk about seasonality, and local produce.  Yet this past weekend I suddenly got an insatiable urge to eat Parmigiana.  Even though normally we have Parmigiana di Melanzane which is made using Eggplant (Aubergine, Melanzane), typically that I have either grown myself, or are relatively local. 

During late winter or early spring however, it isn't very ethical or environmentally friendly to be expecting to eat something which is quite unseasonal such as eggplant, and has obviously been shipped across the globe.  Yet thoughts of CO2 emissions, and enivornmental catastrophe, didn't quite quench my urge.  Yes the recent extreme weather hitting the eastern side of the US, and the extreme (2") snow in the UK is all my fault. I apologize. I purchased some Strawberries shipped in from Israel. Once.

But since life is all about compromises, I remembered that a great variation of Parmigiana is to create Parmigiana Di Zucchini (Courgette), to my taste it isn't quite the same quality, but it is not a distant second, and zucchini are easily grown in milder climates under glass so are available at less environmental cost to the planet, and less guilt for me. So that is what I used.

To those who don't know what Parmigiana is,  Parmigiana is a method of baking previously fried slices of vegetable in a flour and egg coating, in layers, doused in a rich tomato sauce with inter-layer chunks of mozaeralla and generous amounts of freshly grated parmesan.

Parmigiana is scarily calorific, yet most Italians are not on diets so it isn't an issue. If you are on a diet, I would say still make this, just eat a little less of it.  Parmigiana keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge, in fact it tastes better the day after, and can even be frozen very succesfully, so don't feel you have to over indulge all at once.

At this point I should clarify something, our dear cousins living across the pond in the US and living across the globe in Australia, have created some of their own variations of  Italian Parmigiana.  Namely Veal Parmigiana, and Chicken Parmigiana, essentially they are the same, in that they are cooked in the same manner as the original, and are certainly better examples of mutating Italian food, than say Pepperoni Pizza is.  However they are not authentic Italian, despite being delicious.  So if you are eating in a resturaunt claiming to be producing authentic Italian food, feel free to correct them!



INGREDIENTS:

1 cup flour
4 eggs, gently beaten
10-14 Zucchini
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
salt and pepper to season

700-800ml of cooked tomato sauce use any recipe, for example I have one here.
2 Mozaralla balls (average sized ones, palm sized) torn into small pieces
Reggiano Parmigiano (Parmesan) Cheese


METHOD:

-First cut the ends off your zucchini, and slice them into 1-2cm thick slices. The number of slices you need will depend on the baking dish you are using. Generally I put them in to create a layer, and then work from that.




-Next in two seperate plates, add the flour, and add the beaten eggs.  Now dip a few slices into first the flour, and then the egg, before shallow frying in a pan with the vegetable oil.  Don't add all the vegetable oil at once, add a little at the time, as they do soak it slightly.


-Once browned on both sides, remove season with salt and pepper, and set to one side. Repeat process until they are all nicely browned.




-In your baking dish, add a little of the sauce, and spread over the bottom, now add a layer of the fried zucchini. On top of this layer add more sauce, and add a fair few chunks of the mozarella, finish with a sprinkle of parmesan.  Repeat until you have around 4 or 5 layers.


-On the final layer, be more generous with the sauce, mozarella and the parmesan then bake in the oven for around 30 mins at Gas 7 until golden brown, or slightly over. Eventually you will have something looking like the below, only probably better.


-Important!!  Allow the dish to cool before attempting to cut a piece out.  It is really hugely beneficial to allow the parmigiana to cool, or else you will end up with the below. Tasty slop!


This can be kept in the fridge for a few days, and actually it tastes better the in the following days, as the flavours all combine.  So if your planning a picnic or similar, it can easily be made in advance.
Enjoy!

17 comments:

3 hungry tummies said...

I love parmigiana and I agree with you on how it tastes better after a few days :)

Joanne said...

Don't feel too bad about the strawberries from Israel. We've all done it. "Once".

Love parmigiana! I can definitely see why you were craving it. Looks fantastic. Love the zucchini idea. I'll need to try it this summer when zucchinis are everywhere.

Micaela said...

troppo buona!!! adoro la parmigiana!! la faccio anche di melanzane o di carciofi!!! ;-)

Lady Boheme said...

Ciao Luigi, ottima questa parmigiana! Una vera delizia! Un caro saluto

Mari said...

OHHHH I want to make this! it looks so simple and delish!

il sapore del verde said...

Hello! This is very good! I love zucchini! Ciao. Deborah

Kim said...

This is an awesome recipe Luigi! I love zucchini, but I've never thought about making parmigiana with it. This post makes me happy, very happy:D

Erica said...

Love the zucchini parmigiana idea! I love eggplant parmigiana.....would love to try this version.

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Parmigiana!!! I never loved eggplant until I was introduced to this dish, and the rest they say, is history. I was fortunate to have eaten my first parmigiana which was cooked by an Italian lady. Authentic stuff that was unforgettable. I KNOW yours is delicious, just looking at it. Beautiful dish, Luigi!

Daniela said...

Ciao Paolo ho appena scoperto il tuo blog, e ti faccio i miei complimenti. Ottima la tua parmigiana di zucchine.
Daniela.

Leslie Limon said...

Zucchini is my favorite vegetable. And this zucchini parmigiana looks heavenly. I am making this for lunch on Friday! Any suggestions on what to serve it with? :)

Tania said...

Il love it because it has a "delicate" taste!
You are a great cook!

PJ said...

Love parmigiana, never thought of making it with zucchini though.. sounds delicious and a nice twist on the old favorite. My farmer's market soon now will be steaming with zucchinis and this dish will surely be on my mind. First time on your blog, all your Italian recipes are so delicious and I very much enjoyed reading you write about food.

Ann Minard said...

I love your site! the photos help so much. I am looking forward to reading the site some more.

Leslie Limon said...

I love the new blog look!

I made this last week and loved it! I will definitely make it again. Thank you so much for the recipe.

I have an award for you on my recipe blog! :)

Bridgett said...

So delicious! I am always looking for new way to make zucchini and this one will be on our table soon!

Velva said...

Your Parmigiana Di Zucchini looks delicious. It's okay, that you indulged in Winter with a summer vegetable.
In late summer, here in Florida, I will be harvesting my small crop of zucchini and eggplant. I make a parmigiana often in the summer. I promise not to confuse it with authentic Italian.

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